Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Backyard Birds - Woodpeckers

Even birds know that sometimes, you have to share. . .

Pileated Woodpecker, top; Downy Woodpecker, lower, by Green Eye, DGH

If you have old trees, or even dead trees, woodpeckers will come. Variables affecting this are: the predators in your yard, or if there is food nearby, and tree coverage. When these big Pileated woodpeckers show up, the other birds back off.  Those beaks are sharp and strong, and can kill other birds. The red colour on their heads warns the other birds to stay back.

Pileated Woodpecker looking for food, by DG Hudson

The acrobatic Pileated Woodpecker, in the photo below, wants to hang on his suet and eat it while swinging. It shows the strong markings on the side of the head and the pointed beak.  The preferred natural food is tree grubs, with suet and seed adding the fat they need.

Pileated Woodpecker, Suet feeder, by DG Hudson 

All photos in this post were taken from the side deck, looking down on the feeders. Lurking there, we took these photos as silently as we could so as not to disturb the birds. No special lens was used. These types of photos have to be taken quick and without fuss (minimal noise, beeps, opening doors, etc). The birds don't wait. The Pileated Woodpecker, about 16-19 inches in length beak to tail, is striking with swathes of red and black on the head. The smaller varieties have the same 'don't mess with me' attitude as the larger birds. Or did you notice in the first photo that the smaller bird is on the larger feeder? 


The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, considered extinct at one time, was sighted in 2006 in Florida, and became a subject of disagreement as to its authenticity. We saw the newspaper article reporting the sighting while visiting. They prefer hardwood forests, and may have changed habitats. That is, if they really have come back. We can only hope. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivory-billed_Woodpecker  The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker


And now for something fun. . .

Pileated Woodpecker, Color Injection by DG Hudson


Do you like birds? Any interesting birds you can remember from your travels, your backyard, a movie, or a story? Please share in the comments.

Happy Valentine's to those who celebrate it!