Like the title says, it all started with cold feet…
Around 4:30 yesterday afternoon the sky darkened, the temperature dropped, and my toes started crying out for something cozy to wear. So, I grabbed the pair of socks I had worn earlier in the day and walked into the family room where my husband and son were watching Nascar. Just as I announced that my feet were cold (I have no idea why this needed to be a public proclamation) I glanced out the window to see not one, but two Red-headed Woodpeckers!
Trying not to make any sudden movements, I got my camera and fired off a few shots through the glass, then I crept outside (still sockless, of course) with the hopes that these beautiful birds wouldn’t fly off. To my delight, they seemed in no hurry to depart. They spent most of their time in the overhead branches at the edge of the yard, but occasionally they came close enough to get a good picture.
Red-headed Woodpeckers are year round residents here in Georgia, but I rarely see them in my backyard, so no adjective would be adequate to describe how thrilled I was at their appearance.
As I watched these STUNNING birds (I’m talking capital letter, bold print) I noticed that one had a highly visible black neck ring, while the other did not.
I assumed this meant that one was a male and the other was a female, but I later learned that Red-headed Woodpeckers are monomorphic, a fancy way of saying that both sexes look the same. Now, it could be that the red head feathers were obscuring the black mark on the one, but I’ve decided that “she” was a female and there will be no changing my mind.
Not everyone in the backyard was extending the same warm “Welcome to the neighborhood!” message that I was. The Red-bellied Woodpecker was jealously guarding his Bark Butter Branch…
…and the Red-winged Blackbird was busy displaying his high residential rank. Whatever happened to southern hospitality?
I have to confess, as I stood out on the deck, I was pleading with this pair of woodpeckers to stay. I promised them fresh food and water; I told them they could take their pick of the tree cavities; I even informed them that this is a wonderful school district in case they would like to raise their young here.
I am not-so-secretly hoping they will choose to nest nearby and then bring their little ones to the backyard. (I might have even promised them free of charge baby pictures.) But even if their visit was a one time gift on a single Saturday afternoon, I was blessed by their presence.