Posted: February 26th, 2021

- Cynthia, the Observationist

Let me start by saying that Woodpeckers have always drawn me in, from even way before Nathan helped me learn to tell them apart and observe their behavior. We both feel very connected to the Pileated Woodpecker. Nathan even has one tattooed on his wrist.

This is a closeup picture of the pileated woodpecker on Nathan's wrist.

In fact it makes me remember a time when for 2 days our resident pileated woodpecker pair were trying to hammer their way through closed doors into our horse barn. I had never observed behavior like this before as it was frantic and constant. On the third day, the tornado hit, and I remember thinking I bet they could sense this was coming

They have never exhibited this behavior again and they survived, thankfully.  We feel very grateful that we get to share our space with these amazing birds.

This leads me to thinking about the other smaller woodpeckers which I am working very hard to learn to clearly identify. Over the past several months we have had a lot of activity on our feeders. One individual in particular is a gorgeous female Downy woodpecker who comes to feed every morning off our back porch. 

This is a female downy woodpecker hanging on a wire cage suet block feeder. Stiff tail feathers and zygodactyl feet on display.

What an amazing experience to see this creature up close! I try to be sure to slow down and really observe her. The way she balances herself with her tail feathers, the direction her feathers lay, what her feet look like, and how she uses that amazing beak. 

She’s very nervous as she comes in. Feeding quickly and darting away ( the reason I haven’t captured a picture of her yet ). Unlike the titmice and chickadees which seem to have no concerns about our feeding area.

Learn more about Cynthia

Cynthia "The Observationist" writes about animal and plant interactions from a compassionate and experienced perspective.

Full bio here.

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