Red-bellied Woodpeckers depend on dead trees for nesting. Recent studies have shown that these woodpeckers experienced low breeding due to cutting sites of dead trees; however, predators are still of main concern. The juvenile red-bellied woodpecker are ready to fledge its nest at 24 to 26 days of age. Natal dispersal has been observed on juvenile red-bellied woodpeckers. The juvenile red-bellied woodpecker remains approximately 27 weeks in its natal area after fledging. In some cases, the woodpecker may return to its natal area for breeding depending on predation levels and food resources.
It often nests on human structures such as bridges and buildings. Nesting activity may start as early as the first days of April. The nest is an open cup with a mud base and lined with moss and grass, built in crevice in a rock or man-made site; two to six eggs are laid. Both parents feed the young and usually raise two broods per year. The eastern phoebe is occasionally host to the nest-parasitic brown-headed cowbird.