Red-bellied woodpecker

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Two on a tree.

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There are plenty of Red-bellied Woodpeckers in our neighborhood. It was the same in New Hampshire. Year round residents in both places.

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They are noisy birds.

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I guess they don’t have to sneak up on their food.

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I read somewhere that besides finding food in holes in trees, they sometimes hide their food there too. And of course they make a lot of the holes too.

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Woodpecker pantry!

Halpatiokee Park

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I went for a walk at Halpatiokee Regional Park the other day. I didn’t see many birds.

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I saw this dragonfly.

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I think it smiled at me.

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I am enamored with the vegetation here in Florida.

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A freshwater lake appeared alongside one of the trails. It was a very pleasant walk.

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Ah, a bird I know: Red-bellied Woodpecker.

A guy around the house

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The elusive MALE Red-bellied Woodpecker, in the big oak tree in our front yard.

We have a female that visits our covered tray feeder (or porch railing) in the backyard at least every other day, but I almost never see the/ a male.

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My daughter spotted him on a suet cake cage I had hung from the gingko tree in the front yard a few days ago. By the time I got my camera he was up in the tree.

The male has a red head from his beak to the back of his neck, but the female’s red starts further back on her head. They both have a red spot on their bellies that is not easy to see, so it’s kind of a dumb name.

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The female, pictured above, during our last snow. She grabbed some peanuts from the porch railing.

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The big old red oak tree is a favorite place for many birds including, it seems, the male Red-bellied Woodpecker.

These birds mainly search out arthropods on tree trunks. They may also catch insects in flight. They are omnivores, eating insects, fruits, nuts and seeds. Their breeding habitat is usually deciduous forests. They nest in the decayed cavities of dead trees, old stumps, or in live trees that have softer wood such as elms, maples, or willows; both sexes assist in digging nesting cavities. Areas around nest sites are marked with drilling holes to warn others away.

From Cornell Lab of Ornithology

You may sometimes see Red-bellied Woodpeckers wedge large nuts into bark crevices, then whack them into manageable pieces using their beaks. They also use cracks in trees and fence posts to store food for later in the year, a habit it shares with other woodpeckers in its genus.

And…

Backyard Tips

Red-bellied Woodpeckers bring bright colors and entertaining action to bird feeders. If you live near any wooded patches, you may be able to attract them using feeders filled with suet (in winter), peanuts, and sometimes sunflower seeds. They’ve even been spotted drinking nectar from hummingbird feeders. Dead trees may encourage the birds to forage naturally or even nest in your yard, and they may feed on berry trees such as hawthorn or mountain-ash in fall or winter.

Back to the birds

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A Tufted Titmouse and Red-bellied Woodpecker share the platform feeder.

Posts have been sparse for the past month because I got an awesome little German Shepherd puppy and have been busy with him! Plus my laptop broke. Plus I have been sick with a cold that turned into bronchitis.

But I’ve got some bird pics to post and I will!

Northern Flicker finally photographed

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Backyard bird #41 this morning: a Northern Flicker!

I was heading out on the morning dog walk through the woods to the back field when I scared it up from the ground and snapped a quick photo before it flew off.

Northern Flickers are large, brown woodpeckers with a gentle expression and handsome black-scalloped plumage. On walks, don’t be surprised if you scare one up from the ground. It’s not where you’d expect to find a woodpecker, but flickers eat mainly ants and beetles, digging for them with their unusual, slightly curved bill. When they fly you’ll see a flash of color in the wings – yellow if you’re in the East, red if you’re in the West – and a bright white flash on the rump.

You can see they are in the woodpecker family when comparing with another morning sighting…

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A male Red-bellied Woodpecker feasts alone (on homemade suet dough) after scaring off the Blue Jay that was here first.

Red-bellied babies?

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Female Red-bellied Woodpecker in the platform feeder.

A pair of these medium-sized woodpeckers are taking turns at the platform feeder – which they prefer to the suet cage. I guess they would rather swing than cling.

I think they are feeding some nestlings.

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They are mostly eating the homemade suet dough and peanuts.

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She flew off with a mouthful of suet dough and returned soon for more.

Cornell: Red-bellied Woodpeckers bring bright colors and entertaining action to bird feeders. If you live near any wooded patches, you may be able to attract them using feeders filled with suet (in winter), peanuts, and sometimes sunflower seeds. They’ve even been spotted drinking nectar from hummingbird feeders.

Our red-bellied neighbor

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This Red-bellied Woodpecker, a female, is definitely a neighbor. She lives close by. She visits our food supply daily and has become less wary of me.

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Her species name is a bit confusing, since we rarely see the faint patch of red on her belly.

The patch on her head indicates she is a female. On males the red goes all the way to the beak.

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At the suet dough banquet table.

What would she eat if I weren’t such a diligent provider this winter?

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One female Red-bellied Woodpecker. That’s my weekly entry on the Project Feederwatch site.

I hope a male turns up this spring!

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That’s one healthy looking bird.

The female red-bellied woodpecker has a medieval hairdo

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May I present Lady Red-Belly.

Male and female Red-bellied Woodpeckers both have red caps, but the female’s starts further back on her head. Reminds me of a particular hair style of fashionable medieval women…

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Portrait of a Young Girl, Petrus Christus, 1470

She reflects the Gothic ideal of elongated facial features, narrow shoulders, tightly pinned hair and an almost unnaturally long forehead, achieved through tightly pulled-back hair which has been plucked at the top.

Here is the male, with his full cap (Wikipedia pic in the public domain)…

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It is an interesting difference.

Adults are mainly light gray on the face and underparts; they have black and white barred patterns on their back, wings and tail. Adult males have a red cap going from the bill to the nape; females have a red patch on the nape and another above the bill. The reddish tinge on the belly that gives the bird its name is difficult to see in field identification.

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Female Red-bellied Woodpecker at the platform feeder.

You can see the male and female difference in the top right corner of this Audubon painting, with the male on the right…

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