Saturday, June 11, 2016

[FOR NOW, MENTALLY INSERT HERE MY FANTASTIC CLOSEUP PHOTO OF A REDHEADED WOODPECKER WITH ITS CLAWS BRIEFLY STUCK IN MY WINDOW SCREEN]


                                      Not Redheaded Strangers

     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.


2 comments:

  1. If you've not read it, Derrick Jensen's "The Myth of Human Supremacy" is a real eye-opener, Larry. Richard J.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Richard! Hope all is well enough in the extreme NW.

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