Red-bellied Woodpecker Up Close

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Red-bellied Woodpecker Up Close

Postby Rick Baetsen » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:54 am

Yesterday, Jan. 02, I got to see and get a photo of a male Red bellied Woodpecker up close. It had been on my list of photo wants but not in the way this worked out. While cleaning the house yesterday our bird dog "Emmie" kept pestering me. She does that when she wants something, so I followed her and she led me to the sliding doors in the back room. There she went on point. I had not seen anything but looked at where her nose and pointing leg was pointing and there laying in the snow was a Red bellied Woodpecker. Apparently the so far unidentified raptor hanging around our feeders had chased him into the siding on the house.

I went out and picked up the then yet laying still bird and brought it inside to warm. It was a good thing that I kept a hold of it as it came around very quickly and started to call. So, I took one quick photo with the phone camera and Emmie and I took it outside and put it on the side of one of the trees in the backyard. It was only there a few seconds and it flew over to one of the conifer trees and perched. Emmie kept wanting to go back out to check to see if it had returned and it was coming into the feeder later in the day. Bonnie later in the afternoon heard a thump from above and apparently the raptor had made another pass chasing another bird into the house on the upper level. So far we have only observed dark movements off in the woods, nothing to try to ID as yet but it has taken a couple Mourning Doves so far.

There were no Red bellied Woodpeckers when we built our home here in 1980. The first one showed up around 2003, but then it was only here during the winter. In 2012 we had a pair of them overwinter and they remained in the woods surrounding the house. We would hear them calling but they would not come to the feeders except in the winter. Now they are year round birds and I believe there are two pairs of them nearby.

They add a little color to the feeders and backyard. Of course we have a lot of the blue color now as I counted 15 Blue Jays out there yesterday. Emmie and I call them shovel mouths as they use their beaks to scatter seeds all over the snow below, but the many squirrels find find it easier to eat off the snow than to work at getting up the poles over and around all my attempts at squirrel deterrents.

Rick Baetsen
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Rick Baetsen
Michigan Outdoor Writers Association
Walloon Lake and Munising, Michigan
Rick Baetsen
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Re: Red-bellied Woodpecker Up Close

Postby Dale » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:12 pm

Neat posting Rick. By the way, we had a Northern Flicker at our feeders yesterday. Don't see them much in the Winter, but this one loved the suet.
HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and your family. Hopefully, our paths will cross in the field next season.

Dale and Ruth
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Re: Red-bellied Woodpecker Up Close

Postby SandyLee » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:41 pm

Thanks Rick!
We have RBW's consistently here. Glad you could help this one!
- Sandy
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Re: Red-bellied Woodpecker Up Close

Postby Bill Grigg » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:26 pm

Nice, Rick. Thanks. Yes, RBWO have moved northward into our area in our lifetimes, along with northern cardinals, mourning doves, tufted titmice, house finch... I can remember when these species just weren't seen locally. Ditto for the double-crested cormorant (for a variety of reasons), merlin, Cooper's hawk, sandhill crane, common raven. I have been privileged to observe and document the changes in our avian populations in my lifetime, and hope the next generation realizes and documents the changes they will encounter.

Life is good.... Bill G.
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Re: Red-bellied Woodpecker Up Close

Postby Louise Dawson » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:21 pm

Hi Rick, how interesting your pooch would go on point at the woodpecker. Great story, too. Thanks for posting.

Louise Dawson
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Location: Grand Blanc, MI 48439

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