20 Mar

This first picture is just a teaser for the lovely one I tracked down 2 days ago.

This little beauty is a Downy Woodpacker…I believe I have posted pictures of them before and I only include this because they are so CUTE and absolutely unafraid.

They come to our feeders and while they won’t eat the regular seeds they LOVE the suet blocks.

This is on a dead tree on the edge of our front yard.

Now to the main attraction.

For the past 2 or 3 weeks I have heard the LOUD and persistent hammering of a woodpecker on a distant tree.

Several years ago we had one who tapped away on our steel mast for our then used T.V. antenna tower.

Since there were obviously no bugs to be had we figured out he was using the reverberations of the hollow metal tower to announce his presence….maybe for mating…maybe as a warning to other males….I don’t know.

Finally my curiosity got the better of me 2 days ago and I decided to track down the NEW culprit.

After quite a long hike in the woods, every minute hoping you are getting closer, I heard him again.

Now I hear him loudly tapping only for about 3 seconds every 5 minutes or so and although I could have moved more quickly IF I chanced upon him too quickly he might either fly away or be quiet and not let me know where he was.

About an hour later I knew I was close and yard by yard I moved closer until I could see him.

They’re QUITE shy and the sight of a human will usually make they leave for a long time so I had to move up on him ONLY when he tapped…a foot or so at a time until I figured I wouldn’t be able to get any closer without jepordizing my chances for a decent shot.

The first shot shows him at an old hollow dead tree which he was using I believe as a megaphone to make himself heard.

It was, by the way, EASILY heard several miles away.

As I crept closer he moved to another tree very close by and I thought I might have frightened him away but no….he was not at a purpose-built hole for his/her young… other words a nest.

They create one in a nearly-dead tree and hollow it out JUST big enough for them, line it with wood chips they have created and it’s all done.

The next three show him in profile and as I got closer I saw him insert nearly his whole body in the cavity and a second later he’s outside…making it bigger.

According to my bird book these birds get to an astounding size of 41-48 cm…..about 17-23 inches…..that’s pretty big.

I reckon this was in the smaller range although all these pics were taken at 200 mm as he got twitchy as I moved closer so judging size was pretty difficult..

Quite an adventure for me…lasting well over 2 hours in all and I think WELL SPENT!


Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Uncategorized


12 responses to “TODAY’S THEME……………….BUILDING

  1. waynesdslrspot

    March 21, 2012 at 12:12 am

    I apologize for leaving a ‘correction’ in such a clumsy way but with dialup as my only option it’s MUCH faster.
    The bird is a Piliated Woodpecker.

  2. danudin

    March 21, 2012 at 1:21 am

    Great Stalk, With the exception of the smaller beak, he looks similat to our kppkaburra, which is a Kingfisher.

  3. Tony

    March 21, 2012 at 2:30 am

    A great lecture in how building a home!

  4. Steve

    March 21, 2012 at 5:20 am

    I admire your persistance to bring us these shots….bravo

  5. Madelaine

    March 21, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Love the silhouette of the bird against the blue sky. Woodpeckers are one of my favorite birds!

  6. John & Lois

    March 21, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Love this series of images of the woodpecker. I have always wondered why they enjoy banging away on metal signs or posts.

  7. Tammy

    March 21, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Oh wow, what an adventure and what a sight…not very often you see something like this! Awesome pictures to tell the story! Now I am going to google the woodpecker, never heard of that type…

  8. birdgardenau

    March 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Fabulous stalking – his red cap is really bright and I have never seen the holes pecked into the tree like that – fascinating! Now need to google. The first is a top shot, but the your story reminds me of chasing spotted bower-birds in one of my recent posts – agh, the things we do for a photo!

  9. Bobbie

    March 21, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Love the top one–that dude is king of his domain.

  10. kim andrew

    March 22, 2012 at 1:06 am

    Wow. Thanks for not giving up and bringing us the great shots.

  11. Lynn Mortensen

    March 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Great story for us as well as the photos

  12. KarenAnn

    March 31, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    I know how relaxing it is to lose track of time while on a photographic mission. Time well spent!Those are some large birds!


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