Sunday, December 22, 2013

Nuttall's Woodpecker

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I was chatting over the fence with my next door neighbor (we've both been sick for the past week) when this fine lady flew into our persimmon tree.  I was enchanted to have a little woodpecker in our back garden.  

Right now, our persimmon tree is attracting a lot of wildlife.  We are happy to share fruit with the local birds.  Urban songbirds have a tough time of it.   Knowing next to nothing about the diet of woodpeckers, I was somewhat surprised to see this one happily eating fruit.  I know that woodpeckers eat insects and some consume sap. But persimmons? Who knew?




I spent several hours in my vegetable garden, trying to tidy the place up, and had my camera with me the entire time.  It wasn't until Robb and I were eating lunch in the back yard that I got a clear shot of our local woodpecker.  Based on her size, we assumed she was a Downy Woodpecker -- one of America's most common types.  Petite and cheerful, they can be found all over the country.  I believe my sister has seen them in her garden in the middle of Brooklyn. 

Once I had the photos on the computer, I was able to scrutinize her "field marks" and realized that she was actually a California girl.  The Nuttall's Woodpecker is a species found only in California and the Baja Penninsula.  She is a non-migratory bird, not simply passing through like so many of our winter birds.  I'm delighted to have her as a garden visitor.  Audubon's website describes the Nuttall's Woodpecker as "small and retiring" which makes our interaction with her all the more special.

How about you, blog readers?  What birds have you noticed lately? 


Update!




We have a male Nuttall's Woodpecker as well.  He's very camera-shy, so this is the best image I could capture.

4 comments:

Jenn said...

I haven't seen any woodpeckers sadly but then I only have a baby plum :) But I see Black Phoebes in and out of my garden all the time, I love their swooping back and forth, grabbing insects out of the air.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Phoebes are enchanting!

Kristen said...

Yesterday I saw a sizeable blackbird in my garden, on a low branch in my now-sleeping apple tree. One of my neighbour's big orange tom cats prowled right under it, looked up, and then regained focus to wriggle under the wall. I've seen this blackbird and his mate for a few years now, and get the impression that the kitties have an understanding with this particular family.

jess said...

I'm in Seattle amd I just saw an Anna's Hummingbird on my back deck. Until I saw her I had no idea we had winter-resident hummingbirds up here (that's the only one, so it was easy to identify).

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