Monday, June 4, 2012

Red-bellied woodpeckers

Male red-bellied woodpecker, March 2012
We seem to have two red-bellied woodpeckers visiting the platform feeder this season in our 'backyard' in the mountains. Our backyard is actually a forested ravine with an increasing number of natives in the understory (thanks to our planting them), but also graced by a overstory of oaks and hickories, with a spattering of wild cherries in open areas near the house (thanks to nature).

The male is (and has been) a frequent visitor to the sunflower seed feeder (he's been around since late winter), chasing away cardinals, titmice, and other visitors.

The female (or perhaps a juvenile bird) is shyer, and doesn't visit the platform feeder as often (it's like Grand Central Station out there most days).

We've just noticed the second visitor in recent weeks;  today they were together in one of the cherry trees near the feeder.

I'll be checking to see if I can distinguish markings on the newcomer.  I couldn't tell if there was a red patch on the neck from the view I had;  it possibly was a congenial downy woodpecker, as well, but looked more like a red-bellied.


  1. We have a female that comes to our deck feeder, looking for the nuts in the mix. Once hummingbird season was in full swing, we didn't refill the seed mix feeder. (that and the raccoon, squirrels, and a possum were too interested in it) She keeps coming back to the railing looking for more! I feel bad --might put something out for her.

    1. It's hard to keep those squirrels out, but it's such fun to watch birds visiting the platform feeder that we do all sorts of things to discourage the squirrels (baffle, greasing the pole, etc.)

      The red-bellied woodpeckers are especially fun to watch as they cache seeds, or use crevices to crack the shells.

  2. I love those woodpeckers. Living in a log house, I hear them pecking at the logs in spring for the bugs. Gross, but cool at the same time.

    1. You probably have some that we don't have in the Eastern U.S., too!

  3. We only have three woodpecker species in Britain - yours looks so smart!
    Our most abundant woodpecker is the Great Spotted (Dendrocopos major)and its population surge in recent years is causing problems for smaller birds. I heard a loud knocking from our pinewood yesterday and discovered a Great Spotted attempting to break into one of our nesting boxes that is the home of a family of great tits (Parus major). In another nesting box, I found a coal tit (Parus ater) dead - killed by a bird with a strong beak. I suspect I know the culprit....

    1. I just checked and we apparently have 8 species of woodpeckers in the Eastern U.S., with more in central states and western states, too, I imagine.

      These red-bellied woodpeckers are certainly fun to watch.

      Interesting to hear that your Great Spotted have a penchant for nestlings. That sounds like our Blue Jays!


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