Thursday, January 16, 2014

Woodpecker at the Feeder

 I watch the birds at our suet feeder every day while I do the lunch dishes. Usually it's the downy woodpeckers that come - both a male and female - and they seem fairly unafraid of me. This comes through familiarity.

 Since the weather has become cold and snowy, a certain re-bellied woodpecker visits the feeder often, too, though he has been skittish and is apt to fly away at my first movement. In the past, to capture him with the camera, I've simply backed away from the window and shot from the recesses of the darkened kitchen.

 Today that wasn't necessary. Perhaps he's colder or hungrier than usual. He stayed while I took some shots, right up near the window.

 To show the actual native resolution of the above photo, here's a small cropped section ...

 The following shots were taken on 01/07/14. We had a windy high that day of 8° after a morning low of -10°. The woodpecker still came for suet - maybe more so because of it - but he'd remove a snibble and fly to a nearby maple branch where he was somewhat protected from the wind.

 Here he'd peck suet in the lee of the tree

 He'd almost "snuggle down" and make himself as small as possible while he ate. Winter must be a miserable time for wild animals. Where is the rest from the brutal cold? Night only makes matters worse.

 The zebra-back of this woodpecker is stunning.

 If you look carefully at this shot, you'll see why this bid is called red-bellied. There is a small pinkish-red patch on his abdomen, usually quite hard to pick out. In this shot, the patch is showing through the metalwork of the suet feeder.

 Added 01/20/14: Another close-up of 'Ol Brown Eyes ...

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