Woodpecker Afternoon

Or, A Post for Lala Because a Text Message Would Have Been Too Long

I took a little walk around the yard with the dogs early this afternoon. I don’t know if it was the coming rain or just the time of day, but the birds in my yard were going nuts. Totally cray-cray. I’ve never noticed so much birdsong and little ones flitting around from tree to tree in my yard all at once. I thought I spied a little black and white bird that doesn’t frequent my feeder, so when I took the dogs in I grabbed my ‘nocs.

I headed back out to our little pine forest and realized it’s a great place for spotting birds in the trees. The birds seem to run from tree to tree and there isn’t a bunch of cover so I can spot them pretty well for a n00b. I caught sight of┬áthe black and white bird again, noticed the red spot on top of its head, and recognized it as a woodpecker. But it wasn’t a Pileated, so it was a new one to me! Very exciting! I kept seeing more flitting, and as I checked out the new birds, I found another unPileated woodpecker, this one without red on its head. Very very exciting! I need to run inside and check The Book!

So I check The Book and I’ll be damned if there aren’t a shit-ton of non-Pileated, black and white woodpeckers with and without red heads. Jeez. I was smart enough to actually take The Book outside with me this time.

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I take my urban wilderness spot again, and watch for the bird… watch for the bird… found her! No red on her head. Check the book. Lots of woodpeckers. Book. Bird. Book. Bird. Back and forth, checking checking. That’s it! Downy! Downy Woodpecker! Definitely it, unless… unless it’s this other woodpecker on the next page, the Hairy Woodpecker, that looks *exactly* like the Downy. What the fuck? There is no difference between these two birds, and they are both in Florida year-round. Oh, look, the Downy has a note: Conspicuous tuft of nasal bristles. Bristles? Dude. Sibley. I have some pretty kick-ass binoculars, but how the hell am I supposed to see fucking nasal *bristles* at 50 feet? Seriously? Seriously. Jeez.

UPDATE: In the ebirds.com log there is an entry for Downy/Hairy Woodpecker! Ha! I don’t have to choose! Take that, Sibley!

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