Sunday, December 2, 2012
We've been seeing a red-bellied woodpecker in the big maple in front of our house and sometimes at our peanut feeder in recent weeks -- several days in a row a few weeks ago, and occasionally since then. This photo is a bit grainy, but otherwise not a bad capture for a foggy morning, which it certainly was this morning. In fact, there was a freezing fog advisory - not a common occurrence.
It wasn't until uploading this photo just now that I realized that this is a female - her red cap sits more on the back of her head, rather than extend over the top of the head as it would with a male. Below is a photo of a male that visited one of our suet feeders one cold morning in 2011. You can see that his bright red cap comes all the way over the front of the head to the top of the beak.
I'm not sure if we have been seeing only a female in our recent sightings, or sometimes a male. I'll have to look more carefully from now on. We just noticed quite a large (maybe 3-4" in diameter), rather fresh-looking hole in a branch in the tree that's shown in the top photo, and are wondering whether this/these red-bellied woodpecker(s) is/are responsible. We'll keep an eye on it and give an update if we get additional clues.