Monday, July 27, 2009

Busy Woodpecker Parents!

In the middle of June a pair of our resident Hairy Woodpeckers began bringing their offspring to the suet cage for a feed, and we had the privilege of witnessing this sweet example of parental care.

Both parents took turns feeding the baby (that's Mom in photo above), ......

....and while Mom seemed quite calm and efficient, (baby is below her)....

......Dad always appeared to be rather frazzled (that's him on the left).
Perhaps he's a first-time father.

Notice that the baby (Dad is reaching down to her) is as large as her parents. Posted by Picasa

Dad collects some suet.....

While baby waits anxiously below.

If you click to enlarge you'll see that he appears to always have a worried expression on his face :) Due to our frequently rainy weather, he also often looked damp and bedraggled.

Please hurry Daddy! Posted by Picasa

That's quite a mouth to feed!

More please, Daddy!

Here, she waits on the porch post on a foggy morning....

......but then decides to hurry the process along!

Sometimes the smaller Downy Woodpeckers would try for a turn at the suet. Dad was hanging underneath when this fella landed. He hopped up quickly and scared the wits out of the poor little guy.

Speaking of wet's the Red Bellied male woodpecker on a rainy afternoon.

And looking sleek and handsome on a sunny day. Posted by Picasa

It's not often that you can see the red belly for which he's named, but it shows well in this photo Posted by Picasa

Here's the little lady Red Belly. If they're a pair with a baby, we haven't seen it. The Red bellies are shyer than the Hairies and Downies. They fill their beaks and head for the hedgerow across the road.

All the woodies like sunflower seed too.

Notice how the red on the female's head doesn't go all the way to the beak, but has a gap. Posted by Picasa

Meanwhile the Hairies continue madly trying to fill up "Baby". They could often be seen hopping about with the little one in tow. The parent had just disappeared behind the tree branch, so I'm assuming that's the little one on the fence. Posted by Picasa
Remember, this was June, and the Foxgloves were still blooming.
Those Daylilies on either side of them are stealing the show now, along with the Gloriosa Daisies (Black-eyed Susans/Rudbeckia hirta), Bee Balm (Monarda) and Shasta Daisies, among others. I've been busy with the camera, so stay tuned for the lily parade......
I hope you too are enjoying the delights that nature provides for us on these summer days.


Marrissa said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri,
How sweet and clumsy does that little baby woodpecker look!
You take amazing picures!

Autumn Belle said...[Reply]

Wow, those are beautiful snapshots of the birds in action. I have not been successful capturing birds on camera so far. So, thanks for sharing this with me.

Karen said...[Reply]

Oh, I love the woodpeckers, so entertaining! But I can't wait to see the photos of your daylilies and other flowers in your garden.

Tabor said...[Reply]

Wonderful photos. YOu told a lovely story. It always amazes me that any of these birds survive. I miss spring already!

GardenJoy4Me said...[Reply]

Kerri ... I loved that foggy prning picture ! All of your pictures were great .. I only wished I had been earlier with my baby robin pictures to show the parents feeding them ..
It amazes me all the time about the life of birds : )

Lisa at Greenbow said...[Reply]

What a delight this post has been Kerri. We rarely get Hairy Woodpeckers at our feeders let alone seeing a young one being fed. Great pictures one and all.

sweet bay said...[Reply]

Gorgeous pictures Kerri. I was hoping you'd get a picture of the red belly patch of the Red-Bellied Woodpecker and what a great shot! Thanks for sharing -- what a wonderful post.

Roses and Lilacs said...[Reply]

Kerri, what a wonderful series of pictures. Poor Papa Hairy does look frazzled.

I love the red bellies. Mine are shy too and I don't see them nearly as often as their downy and hairy cousins. The downy family was visiting my seed blocks back in June trying to teach the babies to eat by themselves.

Needled Mom said...[Reply]

Those photos are absolutely fabulous, Kerri. You can really see all the actions of caring for their young.

You have had a lot of rain this year. It seems to constantly be making the news. I hope that August is a little dryer for you.

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...[Reply]

What fabulous images, woodpeckers are one of my favorite birds.

Anonymous said...[Reply]

Bird photos are quite an accomplishment.

Northern Shade said...[Reply]

I thoroughly enjoyed your photos of the woodpeckers. Watching the interactions between the family is fascinating. The slightly pathetic and appealing look of the baby is so sweet. It must work to keep the parents feeding it so frantically too. :)

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...[Reply]


Those are incredible photos of the woodpecker families! How wonderful that you're watching "Baby" being fed and taught by the parents.

Isn't nature wonderful?


Mountain Mama said...[Reply]

I love your photos and the story is so sweet. You really got some wonderful pictures!
I only have hummingbirds close by right now and they are so fast all my photos are blurs!

I've had a hawk hanging around trying to get the birds that were at the feeder and I think they are wise to it and staying away.

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...[Reply]

Terrific photos of the woodpecker family, they are a pretty bird.

Alice said...[Reply]

What a fantastic series of photos, Kerri. No doubt they could keep your amused for have hours to spare, don't you?

Tatyana said...[Reply]

Hi Kerry! I haven't seen woodpeckers in my garden for a long time. That is why, it was a real treat to look at your pictures. You are a good photographer! The pictures are so clear and bright! Thank you!

Teresa said...[Reply]

Great pictures! Those are so pretty. I just love seeing birds that are less ordinary and you were also able to get pics! Lucky you to witness the parenting skills and see their baby grow up.

Bird Girl said...[Reply]

Kerri - what a sweet, sweet post! I really enjoy seeing the parents feed the babies and you have captured this so perfectly! The last picture of the baby on the fence with the foxgloves and the water is just composed to beautifully! I really like that suet feeder, too! Never saw one like that.
I also wanted to thank you for the lovely comment you left on my blog. It warmed my heart to know that you shared the swallow post with your grandchildren and that you took the time to tell me that you and your hubby enjoy my posts.
Thanks, again!

Isabelle said...[Reply]

Ah, your life seems as usual like a rural idyll with no worries, dust, dishes to wash or bills to pay. That's right, isn't it?

My verification word is Nestpab. I feel that's a good word for an adolescent nestling.

Barbee' said...[Reply]

Great shot of the Red Belly's underside, Kerri. The best I have ever seen.

Meredith said...[Reply]

Those are some seriously adorable woodpeckers. Your photos are fantastic -- and what good woodpecker parents!

TUFFENUF said...[Reply]

Thanks Kerri for the great photos and wonderful commentary of the sweet woodpecker family! Hope you are having a great summer!

Giddy said...[Reply]

We often see the Hairies and Downies flitting through the woods and even an occasional Pileated.

Kaija said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri! I enjoyed your photos of the woodpeckers. I can see woodpeckers here in my garden too. They look so beautiful.

Happy weekend!


Lesley said...[Reply]

I am in awe. Your woodies are gorgeous! Thanks for giving us the back story too, much better with those little snippets to explain the action!

We don't have red-bellied or hairy Woodpeckers over here. We have great woodpeckers (which are green with red heads) or spotted, which are black and white with red caps. Both visit our garden but they are very shy and I've not seen any youngsters.

Love it.

lesley x

Dee/reddirtramblings said...[Reply]

That was so much fun to see that I asked Bear to come see it too. She loves the garden visitors more than the garden.~~Dee

Barbara said...[Reply]

So cute, these snapshots. A real bird story :-) !! I enjoyed the pictures very much. Looking forward to a continuation ;-) !

Sunita said...[Reply]

Kerri, that baby looks so cute! I loved this post. So many tales weaving in and out of it :)
I think Dad was worrying over whether he'd ever manage to fill his big baby's tummy. That's one giant baby (comparatively speaking) which's almost as big as her parents.

Anonymous said...[Reply]

I loved this woodpecker post, Kerri. You have inspired me to get the suet back out for the little guys. Great photos, of the birds and your beautiful flowers.

em said...[Reply]

kerri, wowie, what great photos! i haven't seen many wood peckers down here this year, but we don't feed them. can you believe all this rain? i'm behind in the weeding and trimming...

i also like your previous post, the density of blooms you have is magical.

Connie said...[Reply]

Wonderful sequence of photos ....almost felt like was there myself to witness this cool scenario of parenting in action.

Marlene Depler said...[Reply]

Some amazing shots! I'm surprised you didn't scare the feathered friends away. In Colorado, our woodpeckers are primarily Northern Flickers.

Naturegirl said...[Reply]

A delightful post Kerri! I also had the pleasure of witnessing the feeding action with a family of downys! I love the little chirping that goes on..sort of squeak..I captured a few photos but not as close as yours...I understand belated B. Day greetings are in order..I was notified by Nature Blog but am late getting here. I trust you were spoiled..good one should on their B.Day!
Enjoy the rest of the we've had a ((WET)) one!! :) NG

Moi said...[Reply]

such a sweet tale of a such a beautiful li'l family.....:) you are so good at shooting birds, Kerri ....that pic of the foggy morning form the porch is splendid!!!!! and so are of the red bellied woodpecker...what a delightful red that is :)

Layanee said...[Reply]

Beguiling little creatures aren't they and you have captured them perfectly. Hope you are enjoying the summer Kerri.

Annie in Austin said...[Reply]

I've come back to look a couple of times but haven't commented - still don't have the right words to say how wonderful your photos are. In the old days a post like this would have been a full-page spread in a nature magazine. You are an artist, Kerri, and your ability to make us feel like we're there with you is unmatched.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Alice said...[Reply]

Oi, Ms Kerri.....I think you need to update your Profile. I noticed that there is a glaring omission in your Favourite Music

Or have you been telling me big fibs??????

Terri said...[Reply]

Good morning Kerri!
I was just saying to Joe yesterday that we need to replace our little bird identification guide. We used to have one hung by the door at the farm along with a pair of binos.

I've never seen a redbelly like that. Lovely. I shall have to put out suet. I usually only do that in fall and winter.

Kathleen said...[Reply]

These are the most wonderful series of photos Kerri. That baby Hairy woodpecker is adorable. What a great sighting to witness. I have baby Bullocks orioles at my grape jelly feeder right now (the parents have already migrated south) and they are fun to watch too. We've also had a lot of rain this summer ~ so much it hasn't really felt like summer. You make me want to rehang my suet feeder ~ I haven't seen any woodpeckers since I pulled it around the first of May (with the arrival of the starlings and grackles). I just can't bear to feed them....