A Downy Girl Drops by the Buffet

I’ve posted before about my exploits creating a woodpecker feeder for my wild bird buffet. I have one very consistent customer – a red-bellied woodpecker who shows up almost daily. But recently a lovely little girl has been dropping by. She’s a little shy and not too sure about that big feeder, but she’s clearly attracted to the suet section of the buffet.

She’s a Downy Woodpecker – just a bit bigger than a nuthatch with a similar acrobatic flying style. She’s easily spooked so I stayed very still to get some shots of her…

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The light was perfect the evening I shot these. No editing, no cropping, just straight out of camera goodness. These are 4 of the six shots I got off before she departed. Sometimes things just work out that way.

I’m hoping she returns often and gives that fancy feeder a try. She seems to prefer peanut suet to the berry that the others like – I’ll be adding it to the menu.

Woody at the Feeder

In my post from yesterday I mentioned a woodpecker feeder. A friend told me about this feeder and it’s pretty simple and ingenious –
1. Take an old log, I used a downed cedar from my woods – drill 1 1/4″ holes about an inch deep around the surface. I specifically drilled the holes on a side that would face the spot where I shoot photos.
2. Attach it to something that will let it stand vertical like a tree – a fence post will do, I attached mine to the large cedar that holds up my pergola.
3. Fill the holes with suet. I also filled the cracks in the log.

My friend says it’s like a social program where you are giving a handout and making the little buggers work for it.

Here’s one of my feeders – nice and rustic…

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Tonight Woody stopped by – first he landed on the top of the pergola .

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He takes a look around to make sure the coast is clear – today he must have been really hungry because my Goldendoodle was sitting about 6 feet away from the feeder watching him.

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He lands and takes another look around…

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Scopes out the situation…

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And digs into that suet.

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He stays vigilant…

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And digs into the suet again.

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See the look of satisfaction on his face?

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He looks like he could use a napkin.

Rat-a-tat-tat – Woody’s Back

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Woodpeckers are shy. This is a red-bellied woodpecker who hangs out in my yard. My suet feeders were up for over 3 months before he dared get close. Here he sits on top of my pergola, deciding whether or not to go for the feeder

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He stayed up there for about 30 minutes checking to see if it was safe. He did this several times before he decided it was safe to try out the suet.

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Eventually his appetite overcame his fear and he made the leap. It was clear right away that he was too much bird for a feeder like this.

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I’ve built him a feeder out of an old dead cedar tree – I have seen him using it, but haven’t managed to catch him with my camera – yet. I drilled 1 1/4″ holes into the log and filled the holes with suet. The little guy loves it, its like his own personal suet tree.

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By far his favorite place is my black walnut tree just off my patio. He paces along the limbs, scouting the feeders and tapping on the old tree.

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He has a distinctive call, it’s really more of a cry. It sounds mournful, sad – in contrast to his chipper face.

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I can hear him in the woods near the house. He flies in long sweeping arcs from tree to tree.

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I hear his tap and I know he’s back.