Monday, June 08, 2009

Outdoor Hour Challenge: Chickadees & Woodpeckers



We are so excited to be doing Barb's Outdoor Hour Challenges again! This week, she listed several black & white birds as the challenge. Of the 4 listed, we have 2 kinds that visit our backyard: chickadess
& woodpeckers (red-bellied & downy).



We started by reading about both types of birds in The Handbook of Nature Study. The most interesting part to us was learning about the woodpecker's tongue. The woodpecker will drill a small hole into a tree to get to a grub or larva. The hole is so small, the woodpecker cannot open his beak to grab the larva. But, God has designed his tongue with tiny hooks that he can poke into the grub to spear it and draw it out of the hole. Wow!

Another interesting thing about a woodpecker's tongue is that it is very long (sometimes three times the bill length). And, there are tiny bones in the woodpecker's tongue that help the tongue to stretch out. (There are great photos and explanations at this Hilton Pond site.)

We also enjoyed reading about how woodpeckers will find a tree (or another object) which they really enjoy the resonance and will return to it again and again. We have had red-bellied woodpeckers come to the top of our fireplace again and again over the past few years to drill on our metal! It is very loud in the house, but they must love it. :-)

(Photos from top to bottom: red-bellied woodpecker in our yard; female downy in our yard; red-headed woodpecker taken during a nature walk)

6 comments:

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

Your photos are perfect! I love how colorful woodpeckers are in real life. We hear them more than we see them but they are awesome, interesting birds.

Thanks so much for sharing your link. I would love to see your chickadees too since we do not have any here.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

live4evermom said...

You took some great pictures. Now going outside to fill my feeders again. Being out of town just the weekend and they are empty again.

Robin said...

Boy, Barb can come here to see chickadees, we've got tons!
Loved your pictures--as usual.
That site with the woodpecker tongue... omg.... those are amazing photos. I never realized that they looked like that. I just figured they sucked the bugs in after they destroyed my trees...LOL!
And we get quite the chorus sometimes, too. Our gutters are the instrument of choice and make an amazingly loud noise, which is the purpose, I suppose.

Dana said...

What an amazing bird! I have the Handbook, but we ended our bird study for summer break. Might have to pick it up again... Great pictures!

Rhonda said...

Oh I just loved this post! We have been studying birds since the fall and have seen quite a few woodpeckers and chickadees here at our feeders. We loved studying the woodpeckers. Such fascinating birds and those tongues, WOW!

lahbluebonnet said...

Wow! How beautiful those birds are! I now live in an area where many colorful birds live: goldfinches, robins, cardinals, bluebirds. Did you see my bluebird post? My neighbor has a bluebird house and had us over to see the babies.
Blessings,
Laurie

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