The response of adult Red-cockaded Woodpeckers to a fallen nestling- On 31 May 1990, while watching a pair of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers (Picoides borealis) feeding two 20- day-old nestlings, we observed the following behavior. At 6:30 DST, the adult male flew to the entrance of the nest cavity with prey. He did not immediately offer the prey to the nestlings, but hesitated at the entrance for several seconds. One of the nestlings lunged forward, apparently to snatch the prey from the adult, only to lose its balance and fall from the 12-m-high cavity to the ground where it remained out of sight near the base of the cavity tree. Both adults continued to feed the nestling still in the cavity, but did not approach the one on the ground, even though it called periodically.
Schaefer, Richard R.; Rudolph, D. Craig; Conner, Richard N. 1991. The response of adult red-cockaded woodpeckers to a fallen nestling. Wilson Bulletin. 103(3): 514-515.