Thursday, April 1, 2010

Woodpeckers at the seed feeder?!

While sniffling my way through a cold I spent a marvelous afternoon sketching the birds (and other creatures) visiting the feeder in our front yard. I've seen a Nuttall's woodpecker (Picoides nuttallii) pecking around the fence at the edge of our yard a few times in the past week or so. He would travel along the top of the fence and stop to peck at the wood, then fly up into the magnolia tree next door and peck around some more then fly off. Today he flew in after lunch and treated me to a punkish display of bright red mohawk. I felt like it was the 1980's all over again! This astonishing display occurred while he was on the tube feeder eating sunflower seeds and a house finch had the temerity to join him. He flew back and forth between the feeder and the magnolia, carrying seeds with him each time. Then he was gone. A few minutes later a female Nuttall's appeared at the feeder and repeated the male's behavior. Each appeared a few more times during the afternoon, but never at the same time. This led me to believe that they must be taking turns incubating eggs, perhaps somewhere nearby.

According to Audubon Nuttall's woodpeckers occur only on the West coast of the United States, mostly in California. They prefer oak woodland and excavate holes in dead limbs or trunks of several different trees to build their nest. Insects make up the majority of their diet but they also eat fruit and nuts and, apparently, seeds.

Next: Squirrel strategy


  1. Wow! that crest on the woodpecker is awsome. What an intreguing sighting.

  2. Good evening Debbie, your woodpecker is so very stylish. Since taking the challenge I have only glimpsed fast moving flashes of birds. I think it has been too windy. You are well on your way to becoming a great bird artist. Have a great Easter weekend.