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1 March 2018 Conspecifics Take Over Black-Backed Woodpecker Nest Following Removal of Resident Pair
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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.

Teresa J Lorenz, Philip C Fischer, and Samuel D Cowell "Conspecifics Take Over Black-Backed Woodpecker Nest Following Removal of Resident Pair," Northwestern Naturalist 99(1), 66-72, (1 March 2018).
Received: 2 May 2017; Accepted: 1 November 2017; Published: 1 March 2018

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