Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Downy Woodpecker

I couldn't figure out what this little woodpecker was doing the other day. I spotted him clinging onto the rail and he stayed there for at least ten minutes or so with very little movement in all that time, almost as if he was asleep but his eyes were open. Was he hiding from a hawk or just taking a well-deserved rest? He would have been hidden from the sky by the slightly overhanging top rail. I settled in with a cup of tea in hand enjoying his company, until I turned my head and when I looked back he was gone, just like that. A very comfortable interlude with my little Downy Woodpecker.

What I read on line: This bird nests in a hole the adults make in a tree, has a long, barbed tongue and sticky, glue-like saliva, which help it catch insects, lives year-round across much of the United States, and is the most common woodpecker in eastern North America

Only 15 to 17 cm long, the Downy Woodpecker is very small compared to most North American woodpeckers. Its contrasting black and white plumage gives it a formal tuxedo like appearance.

The short, straight, chisel-like bill is especially suited for probing for insects and insect larvae, and for chipping a cavity for a nest site.

The adult male sports a red patch on the back of his head.

Downy Woodpeckers are cavity nesters. The female usually selects the nest site in a dead tree or branch. Excavation of the cavity, however, is mostly accomplished by the male. From 3 to 6 eggs are laid in the cavity nest, and hatch in just under two weeks. Fledged young stay with the adults for the first few weeks. More than one brood may be raised in a breeding season.

20 comments:

  1. aw cute little fella! nice capture

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  2. Wonderful little woodpecker Denise. I bet he was hiding from a hawk...don't forget to look up!! Now keep in mind the Hairy Woodpecker looks very similar to the Downy...only bigger...a longer bill and no black spots on the white tail feathers. Someday you will spot one and then again...think of me!!! Ha Ha Ha!!!
    I can't wait to see the Cleome in bloom!!! ;-)

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  3. Beautiful Denise!This little friend is so cute!
    I'm sure that you are a calm serene person and very clever to keep your eyes on this little bird in order to capture a good angle for the post.Good work!
    Thanks!
    :-) Léia

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  4. Sweet images of the downy woodpecker. I've never seen one in the wild, only in pictures. Very interesting what you learned about them. Love that red patch on the head!

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  5. Handsome little fellow Denise. We have a spotted woodpecker visit our garden from time to time. Quite nervous though, if I went anywhere near the window he would be off. A x

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  6. Really enjoyed your pictures today...am so looking forward to spring and seeing birds in the wild is another confirmation that spring is just around the corner.
    My cat is enjoying the birds that have pearched on our trees. I hear her singing to them all the time!

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  7. Perhaps it was checking things out to see if it would be worth it's while to make a hole in the post for a nest.

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  8. Thanks for that information, we always have a couple of them at our house. Your photos were very nice, have a great week.

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  9. I've seen a few downy woodpeckers. They're beautiful birds. Great shots!

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  10. What a good shot .. maybe he was assessing the neighborhood thinking of moving in ...

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  11. Beautiful little bird. How beatiful Spring is!
    Your post with your old photos is very touching.
    Did you receive the mail from me yet?

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  12. Very nice woodpecker photo, and thanks for the information.

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  13. Nice shots of this little fella. I've seen a couple of woodpeckers but haven't got a clue which ones I've seen. :-)

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  14. I love him, he looks so small. I've seen some woodpeckers around here but they are bigger and a different colour. I never think to photograph them!

    He's beautiful

    Breeze

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  15. We had one of those guys hop up and down our locust tree every morning in Illinois. They are so pretty. You really got great shots!

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  16. o isnt he sweet. My dau has a bird in the yard I must get a pic of before I leave. It has such interesting coloring. almost looks like a cardinal but the plummage is an unbelievable blue

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  17. Thank you all for stopping by. It always makes me feel good to see you here and read what you have to say. I wish you all a wonderful weekend.

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