Wild Bird Blog


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Watching your woodpeckers

Oct 04, 2018


Outside your window, a Downy Woodpecker hitches its way down a tree trunk, heading for your suet feeder. A Flicker pounds its head into your lawn, looking for ants. A Red-bellied Woodpecker swoops up to your peanut feeder, catching the mesh at the last possible minute to avoid a collision with the pole.

Woodpeckers offer an endlessly fascinating study in bird behavior and style. The more you watch, the more engaging they become. Part of it is anatomy. Their broad wings, stiff tail feathers, and unusual toe arrangement are ideally combined for maneuvering quickly through your trees and bushes, screeching to a halt, and grabbing onto the bark with their feet in a perfect, amazing vertical landing. Then, using their tail for counterbalance, they almost rappel down your tree, tail first, until they reach their goal.

Almost all woodpeckers are year-round residents in their territories, so as you get to know the woodpeckers in your neighborhood and yard, you can enjoy them throughout the year.