I have always enjoyed woodpeckers, their flighty nature, their calls, their colorful plumage and peculiar lifestyle. The best time to see a woodpecker or any bird, for that matter, is when you're being still outside. They will come to you. I have never had this confirmed so quickly as when this male downy arrived.Both a male and female downy visited my feeders during the winter. I could see them come to the feeder together, sometimes even notice them approaching, tree by tree. But the best photo I could manage was the female with one eye peeping around the feeder!
Yesterday, I sat a chair outside with the idea in mind of sketching a tree. A tree will be still, I thought. But it wasn't the tree that was the problem.
I did sketch the tree, but not without many interruptions. A brown thrasher landed on its branches and I had to stop and photograph it. I watched the dogwood blossoms blowing in the wind as the cloud movement changed the light. And I had to get up and examine the tiny, newly formed oak leaves in their pastel shades of pink and green.
No sooner had I returned to my sketch when I heard a faint, "tap, tap, tap". I sat very still, uncertain where it was coming from. Again, "tap, tap, tap." Just over my shoulder a few feet away, I found a male downy tapping on the branches of a dogwood.
Now still, he was not. Not for a minute. But he was so close, it made me giggle. And he stayed long enough for me to take several images as he scooted around the limbs, going about his business. Tap, tap, tap.
He even showed me the back of his head.
And if you look closely, in some of the photos you can see the spots on his outer tail feathers. Hairy woodpeckers and downy woodpeckers look very much alike, except the hairy has a larger bill and is slightly larger in size. But according to Peterson's field guide, if you are close enough to see them, the spots on the outer tail feathers also set them apart. The hairy's tail feathers are all white with no spots.
This downy brought me an unexpected treat, something nature never fails to give me. Whenever you can, get outside and just be still for a while. Nature's performers are already gathered on the stage and its a busy time of year.
Linked to Bird Photography Weekly #33, at Birdfreak.com, to promote the conservation of our world's birds.
For the Love of It...
...the sage sees heaven reflected in Nature as in a mirror, and he pursues this Art, not for the sake of gold or silver, but for the love of the knowledge which it reveals.