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dandelion


Red-bellied woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus

When cottonmanifesto hung up the suet cage I figured we'd get house sparrows, maybe some chickadees or titmice--perhaps even a downy woodpecker. I was quite surprised when I heard the complaints of a red-bellied woodpecker objecting to my proximity. (And even more surprised that I snapped a photo before he left in a huff). At first, since this species is so much bigger than most of our feeder birds we mis-identified it as a northern flicker. The red-belly is a bit smaller than the flicker, and has distinctive markings. You will notice that the distinctive markings do not include a prominently red belly. Alas, we have to file this species along with the screech owl in our poorly named birds file.

Red-bellied woodpeckers are more common in the southeastern states, but have been moving northward to take advantage of human-provided food sources over the past couple centuries. They require large dead trees in which they can excavate nest holes. Some of these were recently cut down in our neighborhood; I hope enough habitat remains to sustain a population of these attractive animals.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
deathling
Nov. 22nd, 2012 05:36 am (UTC)
Suet attracts awesome birds!! House sparrows don't seem to like it either. Watch out for the squirrels though. It's only a matter of time before they start chewing the cage apart.
urbpan
Nov. 28th, 2012 10:43 am (UTC)
We do get some house sparrows at the suet, but not as many as if we had millet or sunflower seeds out. So far the squirrels are inhibited from coming too close to the house--the dogs are avid squirrel-chasers.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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