Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Sentry

A persistent Red-Headed Woodpecker bored a hole through a limb in our tree. The hole was so large that it weakened the limb which fell during a windstorm. We're thinking that wasn't his intentions. We're thinking he was just trying to create a home. He has created one, we think, and we always see his little red head sticking out from behind the branch. We can see him from our picture window. The broken branch, the red head and sharp beak always pointing in the same direction, like the photo above. This fellow, or gal, will chase squirrels and jays and any other bird away. I'm partial to the Red-Headed Woodpeckers. Yeah, yeah...they can wreak havoc among homeowners but there are safe methods available to discourage them from drilling holes in your house. They're raucous birds; very loud during their mating time, and any other time really. Their bright heads and stark black and white bodies stand out and just make me happy.
Maybe my love for these birds stem from growing up a Woody Woodpecker cartoon fan. I loved that silly bird. Seeing my first Red-Headed Woodpecker was sort of magical. One day it was a drawing in a book, an insolent cartoon character, the name of a drive-in burger joint, but the moment of my first sighting these beautiful birds became flesh and blood - a living creature.
Red-Headed Woodpeckers are on the Threatened list in Alabama. Like everywhere else, humans are encroaching deeper into their habitat and building more and more into natural areas because we want to live among the beauty of nature. (I can't think of a soul who wants to live by a landfill, do you?) Woodpeckers need dead and dying trees for their nests, and tend to create holes in trees - humans don't like that, but that's what woodpeckers do.
I'm not a woodpecker expert but I do appreciate their beauty and individual contributions to nature. We call our Red-Headed Woodpecker "The Sentry" because he's ever watchful, and always on guard. Perhaps we'll have little baby Red-Headed Woodpeckers this Spring. Stand by for any breaking RHW news...


jodi said...

Whew, there you are, Debi! I couldn't find your blog for some reason when I started reloaded links onto the redesigned bloomingwriter, and I ended up at a splog instead that uses your name. Have you registered with Blotanical yet? You should if you haven't! Great place to find other garden bloggers, and to increase your readership, and just have fun!

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Hi Jodi. I changed my URL and sent you an e-mail about it, but you probably get tons of e-mails! Here's my new URL:

I'll check out Blotanical. Sounds good! Thanks, dear.

Diane said...


We don't have the red-headed woodpecker here but lots of Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers plus the yellow bellied sapsucker (in summer). The reason I like having them around is because they eat so many insect eggs/larvae that are lodged in the bark of the trees. Unfortunately they also think our home is ripe for pecking.

Diane at Sand to Glass
Diane's Flickr photos

Ewa said...

What a stubborn woodpecker it was... hmmm BTW nice pictures :)

Rising Rainbow said...

Great pictures. We have woodpeckers here but they are a different variety.

Anonymous said...

I rarely see woodpeckers but I hear them around the neighbourhood Debi. Once, while home in Halifax at my brother's home, I spotted a pileated woodpecker! He was HUGE! What a sight to behold.
Like you, I too was always a Woody Woodpecker fan as a child but seeing one in the flesh was quite a different experience. They are majestic with their red heads held high.
I'm looking forward to your future reports from woodpecker central.

Dave said...

Very good photos! We have a couple woodpeckers that visit us but they've been chased away by a territorial mockingbird. The crazy bird likes the suet we put out for the woodpeckers.

guild-rez said...

Hi Debi
loved your pictures about the woodpecker.
Last year I noticed the bird in our backyard.
The Red-headed Woodpecker lives in southern Ontario, Canada where it is widespread but rare.
The Red-headed Woodpecker population has declined by about two-thirds in Ontario in the last ten years because of habitat loss due to forestry and agricultural practices, and competition from European Starling for nest sites. In some areas, birds get killed on the roads when they are foraging for insects.
The Red-headed Woodpecker is protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act.
I love all the woodpeckers, they take care of insects and their eggs.
cheers Gisela

Blessing Counter said...

I'm different today, my friend, I am loving the picture of the Iris! Just breathtaking! I think I should make a trip your way for a photo session next! What fun!


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