My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

Sue's Bird Blog Archives

A Red-headed and a Red-shouldered

Published January 30, 2015
Tags: General Observations, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, White-breasted Nuthatch

I visited a local Red-headed Woodpecker again the other day and, in spite of the frigid temps, it was pretty active. It allowed me a few photos from my car window too, which was nice. I'm not sure if this is a male or female, as this species is not sexually dimorphic (different visual characteristics between genders).

The Red-headed Woodpecker is also known as the "flying checkerboard" because of its bold pattern of crimson head, white body and half white and half black wings. The black on the wings must catch the light at different angles because, sometimes, I think they look more navy to me.

It's a quick and adept insect catcher on the wing, which is a different skill than what most other woodpeckers possess. It was too cold to see that agility in action, but I did watch it hammer on tree trunks looking for hidden insects and larvae. It also visited the suet feeders that Mike Z and Dennis R are keeping full (thanks, guys!). That brought the bird a little closer for some better photos and better looks at its brilliant coloring.

On my way back home, I ran into another Red-shouldered Hawk.  This time, the hawk was facing me so I got some nice looks at the adult's front. It was basking in the sunlight at the top of an ice-glazed tree. The photos don't do the scene justice. I wanted to get out and set up my tripod, but I knew I'd flush the bird, even at the distance it was perched.  So, I settled for car window shots again, knowing the heavy lens, wind, and hawk's movements would give me less than satisfying photos. But - at least I saw this beautiful raptor!

Two more Cooper's Hawks came my way this day and I'm guessing the one that was near home is the hunter that's stalking my feeders. It must have a wide circuit of stops it frequents.

No Common Redpolls have come my way, much to my disappointment.  I've been hearing reports of sightings from all over, including just over in neighboring East Aurora.  When, oh when, will they stop here???!!
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Red-headed Woodpecker
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Red-headed Woodpecker
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Red-headed Woodpecker
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I caught him with his tongue out!
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Red-headed Woodpecker
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Red-headed Woodpecker
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Red-headed Woodpecker at the suet
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Red-headed Woodpecker at the suet
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Red-shouldered Hawk
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Red-shouldered Hawk
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Oh, for a tripod! The hawk took a little "fluffing" break
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Settling down
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One of the Cooper's Hawks
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White-breasted Nuthatch seen while waiting on the Red-headed Woodpecker