The Northern Mockingbird has been a great mimic of Red-headed Woodpecker here. I have been fooled a few times thinking I was hearing a Red-headed Woodpecker or a Red-bellied Woodpecker or even a Northern Yellow-shafted Flicker Woodpecker! Now I know why. Oh the Woodpecker and the Mockingbird should be friends (to paraphrase and borrow from the great musical play, “Oklahoma” by Rogers and Hammerstein). Ha!
I was out with the camera on Sunday, August 5, 2012 and saw this juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker up on the dead top of one of the Oak Trees next to the pond here. There also was a Northern Mockingbird up near the Woodpecker. Both seemed busy working on finding insects in the tree. I think that the youngster just was inexperienced and did not mind the presence of that Mockingbird. My guess anyway. Note that the juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker actually has a dark brown head. They do not get that scarlet red color until adulthood. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
This time of year is when the Red-Bellied Woodpeckers just go crazy over the Oak flowers and any insects hanging with the pollen in the clusters. I recall seeing a similar action by the woodpeckers, in the Fall when the ripening acorns had caterpillars inside many of them. Woodpeckers prefer Oak Trees it seems. Here I have seen five different types of woodpeckers but have not seen a Pileated Woodpecker here on the little farm. That one was spotted down the street.
The Red-bellied Woodpeckers eat insects in the bark and leaves and also like seeds and nuts. The Red-bellied Woodpecker has a barred black and white back, white head with a small red patch, and a white belly with a pinkish-tinge to it. It has a stout long sharp bill with which it pecks or drums. These are lovely medium-sized birds! I am always happy to see them. I took these pictures at twilight on a cloudy evening at about 7:00pm when sunlight streamed through clouds to light the trees a bit. I took these pictures on April 19, 2012 in my yard. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
A pair of Northern Cardinals has made their home in the Oak Trees just at the shoreline of the pond. They love to come to the bird feeder to grab some sunflower seeds, millet, or cracked corn. Soon these birds will be nesting. Cardinals or Red Birds, make devoted parents. Both the male and the female do a lot of the work of raising the fledgelings. These lovely birds are year around residents here in Cumberland County, Tennessee. By the way, the female is the brown-ish one with red highlights and the bright red one is the male. Juveniles of both genders look a lot like the adult female, but look younger and much less confident. The pair in these pictures are adult birds. I took these pictures on April 7, 2012, and also on 14, 2012, in my yard. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
It's Super Bird!
This Northern Yellow-Shafted Flicker was constantly calling and singing away, hidden from view in the gulch area or in the woodlands just in front of my property here at the little farm. It was driving me crazy because I so wanted to see this bird and take its picture. Well, on March 11, 2012, the bird cooperated with my wishes. First, it was up at the top of a pecked-up limb of a pond-side Oak. The bird quickly flew to the ground and started to hunt for insects on the dam. It was right at the fence that separates my farm from the neighbor property.
This Northern Yellow-Shafted Flicker is a male. It has a black mustache marking on its face. Both genders have a red patch on the back of their heads. These birds primarily enjoy a meal of insects, but also will readily eat acorns, nuts, and berries. The Northern Yellow-Shafted Flickers like to eat on the ground. At times, they will take food back to storage caches in the hollows of tree trunks or cracks in bark to enjoy a quick meal at a later time. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
White-Breasted Nuthatches are amazing acrobatic birds. Nuthatches are truly agile, entertaining and just plain cute! These are insect eaters but also enjoy a treat of seeds, nuts or fruit. They have a tiny grey white and black body with a long slender and sharp bill. The nuthatches have strong curved claws which are used to hang on to the bark of the tree that they are working and living in. The preferred trees here where I live are mostly hardwoods such as Oaks and Hickories.
Nuthatches have a sound quite similar to the Downy Woodpecker. They sound like a high pitched, thin and quiet “Cha-cha-cha” or even a clipped “Chip-chip”, that is repeated. White-breasted Nuthatches are a creamy grey-white on their undersides with darker grey on their backs and head. Both genders tend to look-alike. I like watching the nuthatches here walking up, down, and even upside down in the trees. I have a resident pair that live in a hollowed-out hole in one of the pond-side Oaks. I took these pictures in my yard on Jan. 25, 2012, and also on Jan. 29, 2012. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Three Eastern Meadowlarks were perched up in one of the pond-side Oaks a few days ago. It was one of the rare sunny and mild days here this Winter so far. The Meadowlarks have been here on three occasions since October, 2011. I really enjoy seeing these medium-sized light brown, bright gold, and dark brown-black birds. The Eastern Meadowlarks tend to enjoy being in the crowns of trees while those out west do not. Meadowlark birds eat insects primarily and have a pointed bill much like that of the European Starlings. They root out insects and grubs in the pastures here in the area. I took these pictures on January 24, 2012 in my yard. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photo. Enjoy!
This week’s chapter of Woodpecker Wednesday offers a glimpse of a Red-bellied Woodpecker. I took its picture yesterday afternoon here in my yard. The day was a beautiful one with vivid blue skies and it was warmer out than it had been recently. This woodpecker flew between big Oaks along the shoreline of the pond. The bird was likely trying to find its hidden cache of acorns or nuts.
From the look of some of the chewed up branches on a couple of the Oaks, the woodpeckers really have been at work! Woodpeckers eat insects, nuts, seeds, and berries. They usually stash their finds away in pantry caches that they create in holes made in the tree trunk or in cracks in the rough bark of many hardwood trees. Of course in some areas where there are fewer trees, woodpeckers have been known to peck holes in telephone or electric poles, and house siding. They seem to like pecking on hollow spaces and like the noise of that action. Of course, people do wish that woodpeckers would stick to pecking on trees! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Yesterday I saw three different White-breasted Nuthatches. I noticed in my camera’s viewfinder that one of the nuthatches had come out of a tiny hole in an Oak. I knew that woodpeckers lived in cavities in tree trunks but I had not considered that the nuthatches also may recycle an existing woodpecker hole for their own. How interesting! I don’t know if the nuthatches live in that hole or this one is visiting, or they use the hole for a food cache.
The other two White-breasted Nuthatches were also up in Oaks. These were chatting away with the typical “Chip-chip” sound that these birds make. The White-breasted Nuthatch eats small insects, spiders, and small seeds, nuts and fruits. They seem to be social with other small birds, especially the smaller woodpeckers. I did see two Red-bellied Woodpeckers along in the same area as these two Nuthatches. I saw all three nuthatches in different trees. I am pleased to see the birds here in the yard as it has warmed up a bit. It had been very cold here early in the week. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
This Grey Squirrel likely lives in the small gulch or gully wooded area just under the pond’s dam. There are a lot of medium-sized trees in that area with quite a lot of privacy and water. The Squirrel basically sprints from the gulch across open grassy lawn over to the grove of Oaks next to the pond. The Squirrels run full-tilt as fast as they can in order to avoid possibly being seen by predators. The attraction is the plump acorns that the Squirrels are so fond of. I was looking out my window yesterday at almost 4:00 in the afternoon and spotted this Squirrel. The Squirrels here are quite wary of people so I had to quietly go out of the house and take the pictures. The Squirrel did spot me and sprinted away. I seldom see the Squirrels here (that will assuredly change once my bird feeders get put up) so I was happy to see this one. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
I am not sure if this particular Red-bellied Woodpecker was the bird responsible for pecking this hole in the Oak Tree’s trunk or not, but there the hole is. The bird is either using the hole as a food storage pantry cache, or the hole is (or will) serve as a home. Woodpeckers love to enlarge natural cavities within tree trunks and larger limbs. The birds peck at the bark and wood and then when the hole is large enough, they start using the space. Our weather is getting colder and we will soon have the second snow of our season here on the beautiful Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee.
Like you and I, birds want a dry and warm place to live. This hole in the tree may be just the place for this bird to live, who can tell? I know that there are about three Red-bellied Woodpeckers that live very close to my new home. I am guessing that this bird is staking out a new place to live. I will continue to watch and see what happens. I took these pictures on December 4, 2011 in my yard just under this tree. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photo. Enjoy!