This year, I took down the seed feeders but left up suet and nut feeders for woodpeckers and other nut-loving birds, and I have been generously rewarded with many fun observations. I noticed yesterday that my neighborhood downies are still coming to the hummingbird nectar to drink!
Downy Woodpeckers are now being followed to the feeder by fluffy young and I am hoping that the Red-bellied pair and the Hairy Woodpecker pair will soon be showing up with their young tagging along, too. Wouldn't that be a treat--to see a Hairy juvenile!
I have had Hairy Woodpeckers come to the winter feeders in the past, but have never spotted them in the breeding season until now. Like our other backyard woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers don't migrate but stay near their territories throughout the year. Until now, it was unknown to me if the male Hairy I was seeing actually had a mate and was nesting in the area. Two days ago, I spotted a female at the feeder!
In the image below, you can see the enormous size of the Hairy's bill, approximately the same length as the width of his head. He also has the distinctive comma mark that extends to his breast and no lateral stripes on his tail. To recognize him, you also have to keep in mind his size--closer to the red-belly's size than the size of a downy.
My time and energy is currently concentrated on my book project which has a nearing deadline. The book is focused on birds, of course! My observations of birds, bits of life history for each highlighted species, and stories and history about each bird from the pioneer ornithologists that first discovered and recorded bird species in Tennessee are all included in the book. The Tennessee Ornithological Society, the care-taker and creator of Tennessee's bird history, is celebrating 100 years of bird study and enjoyment this year, making it the oldest conservation organization in Tennessee.
The book will be printed in full-color so I can generously illustrate it with my own watercolors along with many historic illustrations and photographs.
If you haven't already subscribed to this blog, you will find the email subscription form at the top of the right-hand sidebar. Once done, the next blog post will be delivered to you by email. This is a great way to be alerted to a new blog post and to keep up-to-date on the book's progress!
Links and Resources:
Sketch Book--Red-shouldered Hawk Territory
Discover Birds Activity Book
Discover Birds Blog
Watercolors of Birds
Detail of "Hummer and Downy"