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downy woodpecker

A gathering of late winter woodpeckers


The past couple of weeks we've seen an incredible amount of avian activity taking place, species ranging from songbirds to raptors. Among the wide variety were a number of woodpeckers, like the red-bellied woodpecker pictured above. He had been hard at work before sensing my presence and then abruptly snapped to attention.  

After several minutes he decided it was safe to get back to the business at hand.

Pileated wood peckers have been frequent visitors throughout the winter. This is the first frontal pic I've taken - quite by accident as it turned in my direction just as I took his picture.  

Moments later he provided the angle I wanted. Here he's perched on a dead limb of a towering cottonwood.    

Downy woodpeckers have been showing up daily to feast on suet.

It almost seems as if he stopped to check out the falling snow.

Another red-bellied woodpecker investigates the spillage below the bird feeder.

Mother nature on the move prior to cold front's arrival


The sun was barely up Thursday morning when this bluebird and downy woodpecker showed up to sample the frost-covered sumac. Thanks to their "built in" barometers, bird and other wildlife movement often precedes an impending storm or inclement weather.

This female "downy" opted to try her luck on the apple tree. In her search for a meal, she'll look high and low.....

and probe every nook and cranny, leaving nothing to chance in her quest to locate insects. 

How many times a second do you think she can rat-a-tat-tat the tree trunk? ......go ahead.....count 'em!

Later in in the morning, long after the frost has melted away, the male downy is still giving the sumac drupes a thorough going over.

Mr. & Mrs. house finch take a respite in the upper branches of the apple tree.

High atop the cottonwood, some 80 feet up the air, a lone crow keeps tabs on the surroundings below.

Pair of wild tom's scouring a harvested grain field for kernels of corn. 

For the past couple of days there was a good deal of wildlife movement around our neck of the woods. But that has already ceased, even as I write this. Everything seems to be hunkered down, waiting for whatever it is that's coming our way to pass through.   

Sun and blue sky brings out furred and feathered critters alike


While the month of March has hardly been spring-like, Tuesday's weather brought forth an abundance of woodpeckers, songbirds and bushytails in the small woodlot that borders our property. And with the emergence of foliage yet a long way off, conditions were ideal for taking their picture.

First on the scene was this female cardinal. In the soft light of early morning and still plenty of chill in the air, she forages along the ground and spots remnants of last year's seed. 

As the sun climbed higher more birds arrived, like the downy woodpecker pictured above and in the top photo. The "downies" were difficult to capture with the camera, as they kept rapidly flitting about, from tree to tree and branch to branch.

It was only a matter of time before the red squirrel population was heard from. On this day there were several working the same area. This one stopped briefly on the trunk of an aged cottonwood.

From an adjacent walnut tree, this red-bellied woodpecker seems to be sizing up the main trunk of the cottonwood and, with the red squirrel present, weighing its options.......

and then deciding to go for it.

A lone gray squirrel showed up -- even with the red squirrels in close proximity.

Despite the chill in the air and patches of snow on the ground, between the blue sky and the arrival of some furred and feathered friends, it was a good day.

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