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Red-bellied Woodpecker at Our Feeder

Anne and I enjoy watching birds come to our backyard feeders. We get quite a few varieties of birds eating the assortment of seeds offered to them. One of my favorite visitors is the red-bellied woodpecker. It often flies in to eat sunflower seeds from the feeders. It looks very awkward as it dangles practically upside down using its tail feathers to brace itself on the bottom of the feeder as it grabs the bird seed. When in this position, you can see faint red splashes on its belly.

This medium sized woodpecker is often seen on tree trunks picking bugs out of the nooks and crannies of the bark. Its sticky tongue can reach two inches from the tip of its beak to reach insects hiding in the deep crevices of the bark.

Like other woodpeckers, it is a cavity nester and will often take over the nesting cavities of smaller birds where it modifies the hollow to meet its needs.

This woodpecker returns a few times to the feeder, then it is gone until another day. When it warms up a bit, we do not see the bird at the feeder probably because of the availability of insects stirred by the moderate weather. We are happy to help this and other birds survive the winter months and continue to enjoy their exquisite beauty.

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