Monday, March 2, 2009

Bird Photography Weekly: Red-bellied Woodpecker

I was back at the park last week, looking for the local resident woodpeckers, and they did not disappoint. After waiting only a few minutes, this little lady put in an appearance.

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)

She quickly began putting on a show, flitting from one tree to another and energetically bouncing along the branches, enjoying the sunshine and cool breezes of the day.

When the woodpeck-pecker goes hop-hop-hopping along...

Suddenly I heard an explosion of activity and the sound of jays in the wooded area off to my left, quickly followed by the sharp call of a hawk. I glanced over to try to spot the goings on, but they were out of sight within the tree line.

When I turned back to follow the little red-bellied female, she was nowhere to be seen. She had been spooked — though whether by the commotion or by the hawk's call, I don't know — and had taken cover. It was several minutes before I finally spotted a small flash of red as she finally raised her head to warily look around.

Red-bellied Woodpecker - 2/23/2009

Hunkered down in the crook of the branches, she blended in with the bark so well that she was very well hidden until she began moving again.

Click on the last image above to see a nice close-up of the woodpecker in her hiding place. The deep ruby coloring of her eye is nothing short of gorgeous.

For more great bird photos from around the world, check out Bird Photography Weekly #27.

Bird Photography Weekly


Kallen305 said...

Wonderful photos Kyle! I really like the last one where she is hidden near the branch.

I love my red bellied female that comes to my yard. Such special birds!

Neil said...

Very hard to find her on the branch I like the hop hop one.

Anonymous said...

We spent the day in a snow storm, so your Texas photos and the sunshine are a sight for sore eyes. How was San Bernard? Did you go?

Bob and Cynthia Kaufman said...

Lovely photos, Kyle. I also like the hoppity one - the bird is actually in mid-hop. :-)

Larry Jordan said...

Great post on the Red-bellied Woodpecker and great photos Kyle! I too like the one where she is airborne!

Kyle said...

Thanks, gang! When I looked back through my photos for that day, I couldn't believe I had caught her in mid-hop. She almost seemed to use those tail-feathers much like a kangaroo does for both balancing and extra lift when she hopped.

Bev- Yup, made it to San Bernard on Saturday and had a blast. Literally! (Winds were blasting at 20+ mph all morning.) I didn't get many worthwhile photos, but I'll post a recap soon.