Sunday, November 11, 2007

Red-headed Woodpeckers

Banding was slow today so I took one trip past the net lanes to see if anything was happening closer to the pine flatwoods.

Suddenly, I could hear the calls of the resident Red-headed Woodpeckers all around me. They were flying in to gather acorns for the Winter and were right near the trail about 50 yards out from the last net.

And me without a camera...

I hurried back up the long trail to grab my gear and made it back as quickly as possible. The birds were still gathering food.

When the Red-headed Woodpeckers do this, I notice that they pick a certain oak, grab an acorn, fly back to their stoarge places, and then come right back to the same oak again and again. This pattern was holding true today.

I positioned myself with the sunlight to my back and got as close as I dared as to not deter them from their chores and waited. Sure enough, the birds still flew in and continued the gathering. Though getting a picture was harder than I had hoped.

They would fly in directly over my left shoulder into the chosen tree and land with their backs to me. Seemed that the best food was on the side facing me and easiest for them to grab. I missed a couple of flight shots as they left before I got one with the digital. The camera is more of a point-and-shoot so that may give you a sense of the close proximity.

Red-headed Woodpecker

Over and over again, they flew in and I have numerous shots of their backs! Finally, I got one good profile before the gathering was over with the film camera. I am SO old-fashioned!

Red-headed Woodpecker

They are noisy and conspicuous while grabbing these morsels and use several trees to store them in for later. It certainly brightens any morning while watching this event.

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