A Downy nest cavity is typically found toward the underside of a large-diameter branch. This graphic simulates night and shows the male incubating. Downy females will lay 4-5 eggs and the pair will incubate for about 12 days, alternating during the day, males at night. They brood, or sit on the young, featherless baby birds, for about 4 days after hatching to keep them warm, again the male stays with the young at night. The young fledge 20-25 days after hatching.
It is important to note that Downy Woodpecker pairs create new nest cavities each year (takes about 10-12 days) and may require up to three additional cavities to successfully breed – 1st for the female to roost in at night (male incubates eggs and broods at night), 2nd for an alternate roost if there is a threat to other cavities and a 3rd possibly for juveniles when they are ready, making a total of 4 cavities. This is true for Hairy and Pileated Woodpeckers as well.
Downy Woodpecker adults care for the juveniles for about 2-3 weeks after the young fledge.