I wonder. Does the standard onomatopoeia for ‘spitting’ apply to woodpeckers?
Ptooey is a brilliant onomatopoetic expression, but I’ve never had my ear quite close enough to hear a Red-Bellied Woodpecker spit.
I need to take a photography class, so I can show you the look of concentration on the bird’s face the instant he spews the chips. That class is on my to-do list. But the good news is, you can see the bird’s determined demeanor on video if you keep scrolling.
I watched for days as this fellow worked to open a hole in our tree.
It takes about two weeks for a pair of Red-Bellied Woodpeckers to complete a nest cavity. I never noticed his mate on the worksite, although I understand that the female does help with the digging. A woodpecker biologist recently told me that the male usually does all the nighttime incubation and brooding (what a guy!) and a good portion of that daytime work, too. We do need to give credit to the female for laying the egg, and she participates equally in feeding duty. Still, I’d say she’s got a pretty good deal in woodpecker life.
Back to the spitting. Watch the video, and I think you’ll agree it’s mighty impressive.
I wouldn’t say this bird is a particularly speedy spitter. But his shimmy-shake adds a certain style to his chip spit, don’t you think?