Wednesday, March 07, 2012


Our front yard used to be busy with woodpeckers throughout the year. A pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers would dominate our suet feeders, and a pair of Downy Woodpeckers would sneak in to eat whenever the Red-bellieds weren't around. In the winter, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers would migrate into our area and spend hours each day drilling holes in our old elm tree.

For some reason, Red-bellied Woodpeckers stopped visiting us about a year ago. We would see them in neighbors' yards but never in ours. Then last fall we had to cut down the elm. As a result we haven't seen a Sapsucker in our yards this winter, although I have occasionally seen them visiting our next door neighbor's trees.

Luckily, our pair of Downy Woodpeckers have continued to be loyal visitors, making many trips each day to one or other of our suet feeders.

They are so comfortable in our yards that they often keep eating even if I walk past only 3-4 feet away.

Our luck improved still further last week: A Red-bellied Woodpecker started visiting the feeders in our front yard. Judging from the amount of red on his crown and face, I'd guess the bird is a youngish male.

He has only popped in at our feeders a few times so far but I'm hoping he settles in and eventually brings a partner along, too.

BTW, although the red belly that gives this species its name isn't as obvious as the red on the bird's head, it is sometimes clearly visible.


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