Birds to brighten your day: May 1

Photo by Chris Bosak A red-bellied woodpecker in New England, April 2020. Merganser Lake.

A Day on Merganser Lake XXII

Here’s a stately photo of a female red-bellied woodpecker. Males have red extending mullet-style from behind the bill all of the way down the lower neck area. Females have less red, such as this one. A photo of a male is included at the bottom of this post for comparison.

Many people call these red-headed woodpeckers, but that name is taken by another woodpecker that truly has an all red head. Red-headed woodpeckers are not seen often in New England. Red-bellied woodpeckers are now common in southern New England and working their way up north.

(Repeat text for context:  I’m running out of COVID-19 lockdown themes so from now until things get back to some semblance of normalcy, I will simply post my best photo from the previous day. You could say it fits because of its uncertainty and challenge. I’ll call the series “A Day on Merganser Lake,” even though that’s not the real name of the lake I live near in southwestern Connecticut, it’s just a nod to my favorite duck family.)

Photo by Chris Bosak A red-bellied woodpecker in New England, April 2020. Merganser Lake.
Photo by Chris Bosak A red-bellied woodpecker grabs a peanut from a feeder, March 2018.
Photo by Chris Bosak A red-bellied woodpecker grabs a peanut from a feeder, March 2018.

Busy day at the feeder (in photos)

Photo by Chris Bosak A tufted titmouse looks into a cup for peanuts in New England, February 2020.

For a cold February day, it’s been a pretty good day at the feeder. In all, 14 species showed up already and it’s not even noon. The pileated woodpecker was in the side yard, not at the feeders. I took the photo through a dirty, hence the poor quality. Here’s some photographic evidence of the busy day: Continue reading

Birds in snow: Red-bellied woodpecker and mourning dove

Photo by Chris Bosak
A red-bellied woodpecker and mourning dove share a platform feeder in March 2019 in Danbury, Connecticut.

As promised, another snowy bird photo taken during this three-day stretch of overnight snow. “There will be more, lots more.” (An obscure line from my favorite movie, The Jerk.)

A nice first bird of the year

Photo by Chris Bosak A pileated woodpecker searches for food in a dead tree on New Year's Day 2018.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A pileated woodpecker searches for food in a dead tree on New Year’s Day 2018.

The weather app on the phone said the temperature was 0 degrees (yes, as in zero). It was New Year’s Day, though, so no excuses: I had to take that walk I promised myself I’d take.

Photo by Chris Bosak A pileated woodpecker searches for food in a dead tree on New Year's Day 2018.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A pileated woodpecker searches for food in a dead tree on New Year’s Day 2018.

As soon as I walked out the door I heard a loud knocking that I strongly suspected was a pileated woodpecker. A quick glance in the direction of the knocking and my suspicion was confirmed. A female pileated woodpecker banged away at a dead tree in the backyard (well, technically not my backyard, but open space that abuts my backyard.)

First bird of 2018 is a pileated woodpecker. Not bad at all.

I watched the crow-sized woodpecker for several minutes and snapped photos until my “shooting” hand froze. That didn’t take long.

I moved on to give the woodpecker some peace and quiet on this frigid day.

The rest of the walk was rather uneventful, but I did see three other types of Continue reading

Apparently Red-bellied Woodpeckers like peanuts, too

Photo by Chris Bosak A Red-bellied Woodpecker takes a peanut from a homemade birdfeeder in Danbury, Conn., spring 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Red-bellied Woodpecker takes a peanut from a homemade birdfeeder in Danbury, Conn., spring 2016.

I wrote a few weeks ago about Blue Jays and how they love whole peanuts. They literally wait on nearby branches waiting for me to put some down on the platform feeder.

Now the Blue Jays have competition. A male Red-bellied Woodpecker discovered the peanut station and visits daily to take as many peanuts as I’ll put out there.

Here’s a few more photos of the Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Red-bellied Woodpecker perches near a homemade birdfeeder in Danbury, Conn., spring 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Red-bellied Woodpecker perches near a homemade birdfeeder in Danbury, Conn., spring 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Red-bellied Woodpecker takes a peanut from a homemade birdfeeder in Danbury, Conn., spring 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Red-bellied Woodpecker takes a peanut from a homemade birdfeeder in Danbury, Conn., spring 2016.

 

Click here to see the post on Blue Jays.

And click here for the follow up post with more photos

Northward expansion of the Red-bellied Woodpecker

Photo by Chris Bosak A Red-bellied Woodpecker visits a suet feeder during a snow storm.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Red-bellied Woodpecker visits a suet feeder during a snow storm.

Here’s my latest For the Birds column that appeared in last week’s The Hour (Norwalk, Ct) and this week’s The Keene (N.H.) Sentinel. It is about the northward movement of the territory of the Red-bellied Woodpecker, a large and handsome woodpecker that has been common in southern New England but scarce in middle New England. That seems to be changing.

Here’s the link to the story.