Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Picoides pubescens

 "Our" little downy woodpecker is a nice addition to any day. Usually he'll work the suet feeder, chasing other birds away with his mere presence. On March 19, I was doing dishes (what else?) and saw him hanging upside down under a branch of the maple tree.

 I believe this is the sharpest photo I've taken of the downy. Usually he's pecking at suet, scanning the horizon or doing that usual jerking motion that is common for downy's and squirrels alike. I don't think I've ever seen him being completely still.
 But there he was, holding himself beneath the branch and absolutely motionless. I grabbed my camera and here's the shot.
 I thought for a moment he was "stuck" there and had given up hope of escape. But, no, when I came back he had flown away. I was just given a rare opportunity to see him resting, I suppose.
 Of course the tiny downy - the smallest of the eastern woodpeckers - is extremely common. I see both males and females at our suet but I feel I know this one. It could be that I see dozens and think every one the same. I love to listen to his short call - described as a 'pik'. He often talks to himself.
 If there's compensation for doing the dishes, it is not just clean plates and cutlery. It is the likes of this guy, too. What better companion could I have when washing the dishes?