Friday, January 29, 2010

Woodpeckers Part 2

There are 8, possibly 9, species of woodpeckers that live in the Eastern Texas Pineywoods. The reason the number is uncertain is because of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker which many believe is now extinct. It is a very large woodpecker that has not been confirmed to exist in many years. So, I'll talk about the other 8.
1. Pileated Woodpecker - I've never seen a live pileated woodpecker. (This photo is of a stuffed one where we went on our "talk and walk.") This is the largest woodpecker in our area at 16.5 inches. It has a prominent red crest.

2. Downy Woodpecker- This woodepecker is hard to distinguish from the Hairy Woodpecker and I'm not sure which type is on my feeder in this photo though I think it is a Downy. The Downy is a little smaller (about sparrow-sized while the Downy is robin-sized). Both woodpeckers have the black and white striped back with a white spot in the middle. And, you can tell the males from the females because the males have a red spot on the back of their head.
3. Hairy Woodpecker - As I said, this woodepecker is hard to distinguish from the Downy Woodpecker. The Hairy is a little bigger (about robin-sized while the Downy is sparrow-sized). Both woodpeckers have the black and white striped back with a white spot in the middle. And, you can tell the males from the females because the males have a red spot on the back of their head.
4. Red-Cockaded Woodpecker - Another type of woodpecker I've never seen. Alex and I once went on a field trip to learn more about these endangered woodpeckers. This is type of woodpecker is found in old, open pine forests. We didn't see any when we went on our fieldtrip.
 

5. Northern Flicker - Another woodpecker I've never seen - and another photo of a stuffed bird from the nature center. This is a large, jay-sized bird. He is brownish with a white rump and has bits of yellow on his wings and tail. Both the male and the female have the red spot at the base of the neck.
 

6. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker - Another I haven't seen, but I have seen their work! This type of woodpecker drills horizontal rows of small holes in live trees.
  

7. Red-Headed Woodpecker - I've seen this one only once. They are so beautiful! They are easily identified by their red heads, though their heads are grey when immature. There are no distinguishing marks between the males and females.
 

8. Red-Bellied Woodpecker - This type of woodpecker is a frequent visitor to our yard. For several years, we have had these drumming on the metal cover to our fireplace. The male has more red down the back of his neck than the female. He has a black and white ladder back and a white belly. Both male and females have red on the tops of their head.
 

Lastly, I'll leave you with a photo from our walk. I learned a new word from this class - a "snag." This photo is of a snag with woodpecker holes in it. A snag is a dead or partially dead tree... which are very important for many types of woodpeckers!
I hope you enjoyed this little 2 part lesson on woodpeckers!
(Note: This information was taken from lecture given at Jesse Jones State Park and a brochure published by Texas Parks & Wildlife. All photos are mine.)

P.S. I found "15 Fun Facts About Woodpeckers" on About.com.

7 comments:

live4evermom said...

Very interesting! I've only seen one type of live woodpecker myself. We need some nature walks. Maybe we will see one.

Rhonda said...

Thank you so much for sharing all of this info. We have seen a lot of the woodpeckers that you have listed in our old backyard. We don't see many birds at the new house here, but I am hoping that when spring comes around all that will change.

Robin said...

Your last picture, the one with all the woodpecker holes, looks just like a couple of the trees in my yard. I guess that means they're insect infested, huh?

Dana Maize said...

Great info! Didn't know that about their tails - the inside feathers being longer. The red-headed woodpeckers are really pretty. I've never seen one here. I have seen flickers, though, and they are a pretty big bird. It took us a while to figure out that it was a woodpecker!

Diane said...

We love seeing woodpeckers in action. Especially this time of the year when there is very little foliage on the trees. They also tend to come to our bird feeders alot during the cold months to eat, which normally we would not see.
Blessings
diane

Tonya @ Live the Adventure said...

From reading your post, I think our Red-bellied woodpecker may be a female because I've not noticed much of the red coloring extending to the back of the neck. Very interesting!:)

Melissa Telling said...

We used to see Pileated woodpeckers all he time a our old house. We even had them eating from he suet feeder on our back deck once. I was really surprised because they are usually quite shy. I never was able to get a good picture. They always flew away as soon as I put my camera up, even if it was inside a closed window. But they were amazing to see. I hope you have an opportunity some time- I bet you would do a lot beter than me at getting a picture. :-)

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