Monday, December 12, 2011

Woodpecker Pecking Away

Look who we found on the bird feeder! Quite a big guest compared to the usual denizens. And what a treat to see - a Red-bellied Woodpecker. That would explain the different kinds of bird voices I have been hearing lately. I think I saw both a male and female chowing down. Woodpeckers are common in Eastern woodlands but as more woodland is being used for human habitats, I guess my slightly wooded backyard may have drawn them in.

As the weather cools down the crowd on the feeders heats up. Often the feeders are packed with finches and sparrows but there are others that find a meal here, too. Cardinals are regular visitors and now that the leaves have fallen, the brilliant red of the male cardinal is like a beacon on the bare branches. We see goldfinches (New Jersey’s state bird), chickadees, and nuthatches on a regular basis. There are wrens and cowbirds and the occasional hawk. And I mustn’t forget to acknowledge the blue jays – there are currently several of them visiting the feeders. Right now I am listening to a finch symphony from the forsythia bush on the side of my house.

I love seeing the variety of colors and personalities on the feeders. I think it is important for people to be sensitive to other life forms. Birds are usually a pleasing connection for most of us (though a raid by grackles on the black oil seed can prove costly). I think being aware of others helps us to be more expansive within ourselves. So peck away, woodpecker, and thank you for dropping by.

For info, sounds, and photos, this site by Cornell University is terrific:

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