The forest of lichen-covered oaks with orchids drooping down their trunks interspersed with brilliant rhododendrons in bloom was worth the effort of trekking despite the nippy weather and intermittent rain. While the mist cleared and the sun rays warmed our spirits,the birds songs became louder.
A dead tree covered with lichens and orchids caught our attention as we noticed a bird on it. It was a woodpecker, on a closer look we found two woodpeckers. One of the birders identified it as the Darjeeling woodpecker, one was a male and the other a female. Both were pecking on the tree and suddenly Mrs.Woodpecker disappeared inside a hole. She started to throw wood stubs from the hole.
Woodpeckers excavate nesting holes at the start of the breeding season, usually in late April and May. Nesting and roosting cavities a re usually only slightly larger then the width of the bird and are either round, rectangular, or gourd-shaped. Woodpeckers are very selective when choosing sites for their holes, tending to look for dead trees that have a hard outer shell and a softer inner cavity. A pair will work together to help build the nest, incubate the eggs and raise their young. However, in most species the male does most of the nest excavation and takes the night shift while incubating the eggs. A nest will usually consist of 2–5 round white eggs.
One woman in the group said “In birds too females have to do all the house hold chores, I thought it would be different in birds”
When the group was busy debating on Mr and Mrs.Woodpecker’s role in making the nest, Mrs.Woodpecker flew away. The debate ended when we saw Mr.Woodpecker flying inside the hollow and started throwing chunks of wood.
Disclaimer: At no point we were close to the nesting site of the woodpeckers. These were clicked using a 420 mm lens, from the size of the birds in the click it is clearly evident that we were pretty far away from them.