Saturday, April 22, 2006

Woodpecker Encounter

Motoring down a rural road in northernmost Virginia—near where Frederick County meets Berkeley County, West Virginia—yesterday with my wife, I was preparing to stop at an intersection when I spotted a large bird fly to and land on the trunk of a tree across the road and directly in front of our car.

"Look," I exclaimed to my wife, "a Red-bellied Woodpecker!" A nice adult male.

To which my wife responded, "What’s that brown bird on the side of the trunk?"

I looked again and, sure enough, there was a drab-colored bird clinging to the right-hand side of the trunk, a female Red-bellied Woodpecker which an instant later flew from the scene. In the meantime, I had lost sight of the male.

Making a slow turn to the right at the intersection, I soon spotted the red-capped head of a bird peering from a cavity in the side of the tree—the Red-bellied male. Our birds were nesting! What a marvelous encounter. This is, I believe, my first discovery of an active nest of a Red-bellied Woodpecker (for descriptions and illustrations of this common species, click here, here, and here). With this knowledge of where the nest cavity was, it was now easy to spot because of the lighter-colored appearance of the wood surrounding the nest-hole, probably from the birds scaling of the bark to enlarge the size of the entrance.


Blogger wolf21m said...

What a great experience. It's amazing what you can discover when you aren't looking for it. Thanks for sharing.

April 28, 2006 9:39 AM  
Blogger John L. Trapp said...

The unexpected moments are often times the most satisfying. I'm glad you enjoyed the entry.

May 10, 2006 9:29 AM  

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