Friday, August 12, 2011

Red-bellied Woodpecker - Diligent Dad

Sometimes I spot him as early as 6:30 AM if I'm lucky.

But Mr. Red-belly can be seen at various times throughout the day, diligently gathering food for his hungry offspring.

Such a hard worker! He carries a sunflower seed from the feeder over to the nearby sugar maple and cracks it open.
At first I thought he was gathering his own breakfast until one morning I spotted....

...this little fellow peeking over the branch,

....waiting for Daddy to bring another seed.

Ah, here he comes. Hurry Dad, I'm starved!

I wonder how many tiny morsels it takes to fill that little tummy.

How about some suet?

Oh, yes please! Posted by Picasa

And back he goes for more.

What's taking so long?

Sometimes Dad has to argue with the sparrows about whose turn it is. They're feeding babies too, you know!

But can't you see I'm hungrier than they are?
(Notice he doesn't yet have a red head? There's only a faint smudge of red on July 26th). Posted by Picasa

Overworked and underpaid, don't you know?

I work my beak off, and what do I get? Squawk, squawk, more, more!

Doesn't this child ever sleep? Why can't his mother do this?
(see, there is a little red on his belly...not much, but it's there).

But Mommy is nowhere to be seen. Perhaps she's on duty elsewhere.
(This photo is from '09).

I did see this female on the maple trunk back in the middle of May, but haven't noticed one since.

Notice the difference in the coloring on the female's head? She has a gap in the red while Daddy's head color goes all the way to his beak.
Red-bellies are often misnamed red-headed woodpeckers for obvious reasons, but you can see what a red-head looks like here at Cornell Lab of Ornithology's great site, All About Birds.

Last time I saw the youngster was August 4th. He came by himself, or at least he appeared to be alone. Daddy was nowhere in sight. See how the red has come in on his head in just over a week?
I didn't see him eat anything before he flew into the maple tree, but it looks like he's becoming more independant, getting out on his own. I'll bet Dad is happy about that!
I hope we're lucky enough to see the little guy feeding a baby of his own next year. Posted by Picasa


Lona said...[Reply]

What gorgeous pictures. It is so much fun to watch them teaching their fledglings. They are so cute.

Tabor said...[Reply]

A lovey story about the red-bellied(?) woodpecker and his young. I love your new banner on your blog.

Lisa at Greenbow said...[Reply]

What a sweet post. I love watching the birds feed their young. Great photos. I love your header photo too.

verobirdie said...[Reply]

What a lovely story and great pictures! Thanks a lot.

Cameron said...[Reply]

A sweet story and photo essay on the parenting of woodpeckers. Just charming!

Anonymous said...[Reply]

What a wonderful series of photos, Kerri. It warms my heart to see the daddybird doing so much of the care. We don't have them here, as regulars, but they are seen once in awhile.

I don't keep suet out all year, so I miss the woodpeckers. Guess it is just about time to start up feeding again.

A letter tomorrow

Alice said...[Reply]

Mummy's probably gone out partying after sitting on those eggs for however long. I wonder with all that suet do birds ever suffer from high cholesterol? Guess we'll never know.

They are lovely photos, Kerri. It's always so interesting to watch how other families behave, beside human ones, I mean.

Do you find there are more birds visiting the feeders in any particular season, ie. are there more in the winter when food is harder to find?

If you would like a change of bird variety we would be happy to send over a few white cockatoos (magnificent birds but so destructive), and any number of Currawongs - they have a nasty habit of killing off the smaller birds so perhaps I won't send them after all. Would you like a few warbling magpies, or colourful parrots, even the odd kookaburra?

You've not been neglecting your garden whilst spending time bird watching, have you?

sweetbay said...[Reply]

You got a lot of gorgeous shots of the woodpeckers! The baby is darling.

myllae said...[Reply]

Dear Kelly,

I read and enjoy your blog for many years ... Besides the wonderful motifs around your home (I'm very persevering in the viewing of flowers, birds and cats), your lines radiate from a mixture of humor and warmth that touches me.

I've even caught myself imagining how it would be if you were my mother (or rather a sister or friend, because I'm 47 years old [soon] :-) I would come to visit.
That sounds a bit strange, but perhaps you can understand it. And who does not sometimes dream of 'what if' - even if you do not really want anything else?

We can all imagine so well: for example, the rain-wet porch with bird feeders, your husband, as he drives his tractor into the driveway after work, your going to the barn to the cat's feeding or your pleasure in inventing the witty speech bubbles stories with the birds.

And another thing I wanted to say for quite some time: Your husband seems to be a really good person and life companion. Please greet him warmly from me and maybe tell him that I think it's very sympathetic, that he builds fences for the flowers and that he interrupts his work because he has discovered (good eyesight) a bird nest in a furrow.

All the best for both of you. Stay healthy.
Angelika (from Gladbeck in Germany)

Please excuse my awkward English.

Kerri said...[Reply]

Dear Angelika,
Thank you for such a lovely letter. I would very much like to reply to it, if you would kindly give me an e-mail address or a blog link.
My husband says thank you so much for the kind words :)
Thanks for dropping a note to say hello.
I hope you're enjoying a beautiful sunny day, as we are.
All the best to you,

em said...[Reply]

kerri, wow i'm so impressed! great photos and so well presented!

Sissy said...[Reply]

oh, Kerri! You always have such wonderful birds! I am digging and planting and trying to lure such lovelies to my yard, but I fear it will be a long time...
I loved this post!

songofthewolf said...[Reply]

That's really cool. Such pretty birds. I was birdwatching with a kindergartener the other day. She saw one of these and shouted "Look! It's a zebra bird!" ;-)