Tag Archives: Red-bellied Woodpecker

Northern Flicker finally photographed

northern flicker

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…

red bellied woodpecker

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

Red-bellied babies?

red-bellied woodpecker

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.

red-bellied woodpecker

They are mostly eating the homemade suet dough and peanuts.

red-bellied woodpeckers

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

Red-bellied Woodpecker

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.

Red-bellied Woodpecker1

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.

Red-bellied Woodpecker2

At the suet dough banquet table.

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

Red-bellied Woodpecker4

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

I hope a male turns up this spring!


That’s one healthy looking bird.

The female red-bellied woodpecker has a medieval hairdo

red-bellied woodpecker female

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…


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)…


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.

red-bellied woodpecker

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…

woodpeckers audubon

Belly up to the suet bar

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker savors snowy suet cake.

This one is a female.

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.

Looks like we are lucky to have them, if this map is right, because we are at the limits of their range.



The Red Bellied Woodpecker Feeding PreferencesThe Red bellied woodpecker forages on limbs and tree trunks of deciduous trees. They prefer eating beetles, grasshoppers, ants, acorns, beechnuts and fruits. During winter, their diet is mostly seeds and can often be found at birdfeeders. They are also able to store food in crevices of tree bark for later consumption.

So maybe it’s eating the seeds as much as the suet in the suet cake? And a suet cage is an easier “perch” for a woodpecker?

Red-bellied Woodpecker a member of the clean plate club


Red-bellied Woodpecker at the pole feeder.


Looking for food.


A few millet seeds left.


But maybe there’s something better in there.

A Red-bellied Woodpecker can stick out its tongue nearly 2 inches past the end of its beak. The tip is barbed and the bird’s spit is sticky, making it easier to snatch prey from deep crevices.


This woodpecker spent a long time here yesterday morning.


Until I observed this one, I had no idea about their tongues!