It All Started With Cold Feet

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.




13 thoughts on “It All Started With Cold Feet

  1. What beautiful birds Kathy, thanks for sharing, We are being pounded with high winds and very cold driving rains at the present, it is great that someone is able to go sockless to catch a beautiful birding moment!

  2. Beautiful capture! My family gets so frustrated with me because they’re always saying, “Look! I see a pretty red-headed woodpecker outside!” And I always respond, without even looking, “No you don’t. You see a red-bellied woodpecker.” …. “No, really! It’s got a red head!” Still not looking, “It’s got red ON it’s head. But TRUST me, it’s not a ‘red-headed’ woodpecker. If you ever actually see one, you will KNOW the difference!” 🙂 Then I walk over to the window, just confirm. And I’m always right… sadly, we’ve yet to have one of these gorgeous birds make themselves known in our yard. But when the day comes, my camera will be ready! 😉

  3. I’m loving both your photos and your commentary. Very interesting blog. I love the red-bellied woodpecker and the pileated ‘peckers, but those red heads are something special. Unfortunately, while they do live in my area of Ohio, I rarely get to see them.

    1. Thanks for the kind words…they mean a lot coming from a fellow writer/photography lover! I rarely see the Red-headed Woodpeckers, but when I do, you can probably hear me in Ohio! 🙂

  4. Wow, wow, wow!!! What an exciting visitor to grace your yard! I was practically dancing around just READING about it and seeing your photos, which are all amazing, by the way!! What a great blessing!! Thank you for letting all of us enjoy the visit, too!! I could look at your photos all day! 🙂

    1. I’m fairly certain my family was making fun of me for how ridiculously excited I was that these two stopped by. Glad to know someone understands! 🙂

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