Father’s Day in the Forest

Pileated woodpecker cleans the nest after a feeding.

Some of the neighborhood birds are pretty impressive fathers.

Some of our neighborhood creature-dads play an important role in child-rearing. Others, not so much. It’s Father’s Day, so I thought I would pay tribute to the feathered fathers whose parenting roles I’ve been privileged to observe.

Which treetop dads help out with the parenting? And which forest fellows leave the child-rearing to mom?

The photo I posted is of a male pileated woodpecker. The blob filling his bill is nestling fecal material. He scoops his kids’ poop and flies it away. That’s a dedicated parent, don’t you think?

In this post’s video clip, you’ll see a variety of males participating in parenting: feeding, incubating, or preparing a tree cavity for a nest.

Included in the film is a blue jay pair.  Male blue jays help build the nest, but only the female incubates eggs.  In the video, the female is on her eggs. Be sure to notice how the male supports her during her long day of sitting.

Dedicated bird dads whose parenting I’ve never caught on video are cardinals, robins, northern flickers, and bald eagles. We do see male sandhill cranes, Canada geese, ducks, and mute swans shepherding their young.

Also not featured in today’s video are male creatures in our wood who leave the parenting to the mother: hummingbirds, squirrels, raccoons, chipmunks, and snapping turtles. The snapping turtle’s breeding story is particularly fascinating…a good topic for a future blog post.

I hope you enjoy this quick look at a few dads being dads. And, happy Father’s Day!

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