Monday, February 6, 2012

Bird of the Week XXI

This week's "Bird of the Week" is the Red-bellied woodpecker. This is the third woodpecker to be a "Bird of the Week". the other two were the Downy woodpecker and the Hairy woodpecker. The Red-bellied woodpecker is a relative new-comer to our area. It is a great example of a bird expanding it's range northward. It is not considered migratory, but it is at the northern edge of it's range and may move farther south in very cold winters. Ten years ago, the Red-bellied woodpecker was very uncommon around here. Now, we see it more frequently at feeders and in the backyard. While it's belly is covered in a light, red wash, it is easier to spot by the red on the back and top of its head.

The Red-bellied woodpecker is a medium to large-sized woodpecker, approximately 9 inches long with a wingspan of about 13 - 17 inches. It has a red hood from the top of it's head to the back of it's neck. It's back is barred black and white.
It will glean (eat ) insects from the bark of trees as well as using it's long bill to probe for insects in dead wood. The Red-bellied woodpecker will store food in cracks and crevices of trees and fence posts.

Photos from All About Birds and Bird Watchers Digest.

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