Peckers

Oh, I just had a thought…maybe I’ll get a lot of hits with that title.  We’ll see.

This must be the week of photos and birds.  I’ve been on a bird kick lately and for no particular reason.  I guess I was intrigued by the tales of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker and I just started paying closer attention to the birds in my yard.  Not that I didn’t pay attention to them before, I just didn’t make the effort to identify them.  I’ve got this great book, Field Guide to Birds of North America that the M. gave me several years ago, paired with the extinct woodpecker fables, sparked an interest.

I was sitting on the back porch today, writing a *paper required for school when I hear this knocking and in my peripheral vision, I see bark flying from the dead pine tree, the dead pine tree that was killed by pine bark beetles and has yet to be felled.  Quietly, I lean over the porch to see what’s going on and to my surprise, there, just 6 feet from my neighbors house, up in the pine tree is the Pileated Woodpecker.  It’s such a cool bird I immediately got E. to photograph him the best he could given the poor lighting conditions.

The funny thing is that I was examining the garden earlier in the day and noticing that the pine tree was shedding terribly on my seedlings.  Some of these pieces of bark are 3″x6″ and wreak havoc when they land.  I surmised that the tree must be shedding since it’s dead and I better get to the business of cutting it down.  Little did I know that the “shedding” bark was an inadvertant result of some foraging woodpeckers.

The woodpecker went on for some time and at some point was joined by another.  Of course I had to drag E. back outside to capture them both as daylight was quickly diminishing.  For a brief moment, toward the back of the property, a red bellied woodpecker made a quick appearance.  Those beetles must be delicious.

Now, I’m glad the tree is still intact and I’ll probably keep it up until hurricane season draws near (like it’s a Christmas tree I can randomly take down at will).  I think to myself how funny it would be if my woodpeckers were really Ivory Billed Woodpeckers… and I didn’t know they were thought to be extinct… and I posted their pic on my blog… and some ornithologist stumbled upon my site…then we’d have all kinds of birding types descending on Cabbage Rose Lane…and the neighbors would wonder what the fuss was about.

They may not be Ivory Bills, but they’re still way cool.

woodpecker1  Click on the images to enlarge.  Here’s a nice profile.

Debarking  Notice the bark flying.  He’s busy.

silhouette  Find the 2 woodpeckers.  This reminded me of the “hidden pictures” in the Highlights magazine.

*The paper, for those who are curious, is a writing assessment I’m required to submit before orientation in two weeks.  The point was to write 3 pages, in 2 hours, arguing some point about which I am passionate.  Being as how my other obsession is Peak Oil, I decided to argue or persuade that local governments need to begin energy descent planning immediately.  I know, I know, it’s so exciting, you can’t wait to feast your eyes upon it.

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5 thoughts on “Peckers

  1. you know how much i love the greenway for walking the dog and otherwise zoning out… well, there is always an amazing array of birds there. this time of year, i see a lot of red-winged blackbirds (you probably get a lot of those down there but i’m always blown away by how vibrant the red patches are) and a few times i’ve seen yellow-bellied sapsuckers (silly me, i thought they were woodpeckers ’til i looked them up!). they also do a nesting program there for bluebirds and they are so amazing. they’re so tiny, i don’t think i’ve ever noticed them in my yard but there, they’re everywhere.

    in case you’re interested, here’s a blurb about the park. there’s a link there that you can click to and see all the birds that have been observed there… 217 varieties!!

    http://www.tnbirds.org/birdfinding/ShelbyBottoms.htm

  2. no, you haven’t been there. i think i always *plan* on taking you but it never materializes. planning on taking erin (joan’s neice) there tomorrow. she got some way cool binocs with a digital camera built in for xmas. should be cool.

    next time you are here we WILL go. xo

  3. this is how the birding obsession starts… just a few in the back yard. the next thing you know, you’ll be doing the christmas bird count for your local birding club.

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