Thursday, June 16, 2011

See It, Now It's Gone

It's terribly interesting that two woodpeckers that look alike and have essentially similar habitats can behave so differently at suet feeders. Our Downy Woodpecker is a multiple-times-per-day regular, consuming vast amounts of suet. In contrast, the somewhat larger Hairy Woodpecker comes around rarely, as if on an annual vacation circuit and making that oen stop at the Steak and Shake at West Gopher Junction. This week, I got that probable annual stopover from this elusive bird. Note the long bill on this male. It's the best field mark for telling it from the Downy. And the size, if you have a handy yard stick like the suet cage. I suppose its uneven visitation pattern is a function of territory: the Hairy simply needs a much larger area. But it also appears to be a lot more content with the insects it catches. Whatever the case, enjoy those rare views when you get them!

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