[FOR NOW, MENTALLY INSERT HERE MY FANTASTIC CLOSEUP PHOTO OF A REDHEADED WOODPECKER WITH ITS CLAWS BRIEFLY STUCK IN MY WINDOW SCREEN]
Woodpecker couples have been
appearing lately. They seem young and fresh for the season, perhaps their
first courting. They have bright partly redfeathered heads and a designer
gray, brown, and white interlocking camouflage pattern on their wingtops and
back feathers. Their bellies are white with a thin vertical oval of faint
red. This is why they're called redbellied woodpeckers, even though the red on their heads is much more pronounced. Another
name or type is redheaded flicker.
They flutter quickly into position
on branches, one following the other by a few feet. One's loud
staccato pecking has attracted your attention. You peer through the tree
canopy following the hard knocking sounds to a silhouette of a small jackhammer
in sporadic motion. You can tell by the sound the branch is at least
partly hollowed out. You wonder how their little heads take the intense
punishment of heavy vibration. Their neck muscles are taut and strong and
their craniums large, distributing the impact widely, it turns out. They
find some grubs living under the tree bark. Their tongues are long and
fast. They soon move to another likely branch mostly free of growth.
They are cute couples, free and
frisky with each other, yet tender and loyal, and they've either built nests
nearby or soon will. Their nests are usually in crooks of upward-reaching
branches or in eagerly discovered right-sized tree hollows. There is
plenty of room in the woods for them all, and they've got their whole lives
ahead of them, as will their little Eggberts.
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