On 16 April 2016, a nesting pair of Black-backed Woodpeckers (Picoides arcticus) were illegally killed by a poacher near Rimrock Lake, Washington. We captured the incident on camera and were surprised to observe a female Black-backed Woodpecker visit the partially excavated nest cavity a mere 3 h after the “removal” of the breeding pair (and presumed territory holders). Within 72 h, a male and female were both observed at the abandoned nest and began excavating the partially completed cavity. The intruding pair successfully fledged 2 young from this nest on 10 June 2016. To our knowledge, this is the 1st reported case of a pair of Black-backed Woodpeckers taking over excavation duties at a cavity started by another pair in the same breeding season. While formal studies are needed, this incident suggests conspecific attraction may be used for territory settlement in Black-backed Woodpeckers.
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Vol. 99 • No. 1