Paula's Patch: A Minnesota Garden

Come wander in; my gate is always open! Gardening / Birding

Red-Bellied Woodpecker June 8, 2010

We have such a variety of woodpeckers that visit our yard and suet feeders. During the past few years, we’ve seen the hairy, downy, yellow-bellied sapsucker, and red-bellied woodpeckers.

The downy woodpecker is our most frequent visitor and is about 6 inches long. They have been coming to our yard for so many years now, that they don’t really pay much attention to us. We can be sitting right under one of our suet feeders in our swing and they’ll come and eat.

We also have a hairy woodpecker family nesting nearby that frequents the feeders. They are a bit more cautious and usually wait until we go inside to come and eat. The hairy woodpecker is larger than the downy measuring 9 inches.

Our favorite visitor as of late has been a female red-bellied woodpecker and her baby. They are slightly larger than the hairy at 9 1/4 inches. They come to quickly extract a piece of suet or a gulp of grape jelly and exit as fast as they came. I was surprised to see this woodpecker at my grape jelly container. I’d put it out for our orioles (which I can NEVER get a pic of – they come and go too quickly!) and they are also enjoying it. I guess they like fruit – who knew? I’m also going to put a half an orange out for them near the grape jelly feeding area. I already have one for the finches and orioles but it’s near a feeder that is close to the ground. I don’t think they will venture that close to us. I sat in the yard armed with my camera, but they can sense when we’re around. No sooner did we go in the house, and she was at the suet feeder!

I’ve been trying to capture the momma in action. I have a couple of pictures to share…they aren’t great because she was on the move. By the time I could zoom and shoot; she’d be gone! I hope you enjoy them even if they are a bit blurry.

You can get a slightly larger view by clicking each image.

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