Monday, February 16, 2009

Bird Photography Weekly: Red-headed Woodpecker

Here are a few more pictures of the juvenile (immature?) Red-headed Woodpecker I saw at Bear Creek Park last week.

(You can see larger versions of each photo on my Flickr photostream by simply clicking on the image, then on the "All Sizes" button above the image on Flickr.)

Red-headed Woodpecker - 2/11/2009
Juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)

Red-headed Woodpecker - 2/11/2009

Thanks to Larry, who pointed out that this is properly labeled a "juvenile" bird. Which brings me to a question I've often wondered about: what is the difference between "juvenile" and "immature" when labeling a young bird? I have seen both terms used in different field guides and on bird sites, often times seemingly pointing to the same features to mark the birds as one or the other.

Red-headed Woodpecker - 2/11/2009
The woodpecker's lunch time coincided nicely with my own this day. About every two or three minutes he would launch himself either down to the ground or toward a nearby trunk and return quickly nearly every time with some sort of tasty morsel: grubs, flies and who knows what else.

Red-headed Woodpecker - 2/11/2009
This young Red-headed Woodpecker's still brown head was just beginning to show hints of the brilliant red hood it will eventually flaunt.

Red-headed Woodpecker - 2/11/2009

Red-headed Woodpecker - 2/11/2009

For more great bird photos from around the world, check out Bird Photography Weekly #25.

Bird Photography Weekly


Bob and Cynthia Kaufman said...

Great series of photographs, Kyle! I guess being "immature" is a state of mind. One may be an adult but still act immature. ha ha (I'm referring to people, of course). Seriously, I also can't tell the difference between an immature or a juvenile bird.

Larry Jordan said...

Excellent series Kyle! You had to love it when he moved to the sunny side huh? I love those last two captures. Awesome.

I did a bit of research on the difference between "Juvenile" and "Immature". According to National Geographic "Field Guide To The Birds Of North America," these terms are used to describe the age of the bird as it relates to plumage. And I quote:

"The first coat of true feathers, acquired before the bird leaves the nest, is worn by the juvenile and may show some traces of down. In many species, juvenile plumage is replaced in late summer or early fall by a first-fall or first-winter plumage that usually more closely resembles the adult. First-fall and any subsequent plumages that do not resemble the adult are termed immature plumages and may continue in a series that includes first-spring (when the bird is almost a year old), first-summer, and so on, until it attains adult plumage."

So since it's Spring, I guess this guy would be an immature? I think immature is used more readily to mean sub-adult and juvenile is specific to the first plumage.

I learn so much blogging. It reminds me of when I was a kid and whenever I heard a word I didn't understand I would go to the dictionary and look it up. Ah, now it is so much easier with the internet.

MaineBirder said...

Great captures of the juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker!

Thanks for sharing.

Kyle said...

Bob & Cynthia- Yeah, being more than a bit immature myself, I seem to have trouble distinguishing between "immaturity" and "fun." I guess I'll just start calling them "the cool birds." ;-)

Larry- I waited almost half an hour (and was late getting back to work) just waiting for him to move over to the sunny side of that tree! And thanks for the help on the terms. It's amazing how much I learn from you guys on a regular basis!

MaineBirder- Thanks for the kind words and for the visit! I'm always eager to share my observations and idiocy around here. :-D

Kelly said...

...I've never seen a Red-headed Woodpecker. Great photos of the juvenile!

Sparverius said...

I think a good look at a bird is worth being late for work. Well, maybe a boss wouldn't think so, but I do. Nice captures.

Kathiesbirds said...

Hey kyle, sorry you were so sick. Glad to see you up and about again. Love this series of photos. I need to add this species to my life list. As far as I know, the terms juvenile and immature are interchangable, but don't quote me on that!