A Snappy Dresser (2011)

red-bellied woodpecker

A Snappy Dresser

Avian markings always fascinate me, and the stark black and white pattern with the little red hat on this red-bellied woodpecker is so intricate I couldn’t pass it up. The thing that’s so interesting about each bird’s feather pattern is that it has two distinctly different views: one with wings folded, like this, and quite another when wings are spread and flying.

This black and white checkerboard becomes black and white stripes when the big guy takes off; the male and female in this species of woodpecker are distinguished by the amount of red, the female only on the back of her neck, the male extending up and over the head to the beak. And despite all that red up top, there is a more rare red-headed woodpecker, so this species is named for a pretty insignificant amount of red on its belly.

I was so inspired by his outfit that I wore black and white with a red beret.

Here is a link to photos of other birds on this blog, mostly from my own backyard.

Among other sites on the internet, a great site to identify birds is All About Birds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I also use my very battered copy of Peterson’s Guide to the Birds of North America; there are many others, but after 25 years I practically have mine memorized. Here’s a link to a new, updated edition that sounds pretty exciting.

I also have a number of articles on The Creative Cat (believe it or not) regarding managing a Backyard Wildlife Habitat and feeding and providing habitat for wild birds in your yard.

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