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Female Downy Woodpecker

Female Downy Woodpecker
Photo Information
Copyright: Bob Williams (bikefifty) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 24 W: 0 N: 158] (596)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-03-29
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon Rebel XTi, Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 II
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-03-30 16:43
Viewed: 4019
Points: 2
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
We had one of our spring snow storms over the weekend. When I took this shot, it was still cloudy, windy and snowing thus no light in the eye. You can see a few snow streaks in the pictures. I had to shoot this at a relatively low shutter speed and high ISO to get even a good picture. I did not have a tripod or image stabilization.

I think this little lady was looking at me asking when is this going to end. It did end a few hours later and she was back at the suet feeder having lunch.

From Wikipedia:

Downy Woodpecker

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Picoides
Species: P. pubescens
Binomial name
Picoides pubescens
(Linnaeus, 1766)

The Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens, is the smallest woodpecker in North America. Adults are mainly black on the upper parts and wings, with a white back, throat and belly and white spotting on the wings. There is a white bar above and below the eye. They have a black tail with white outer feathers barred with black. Adult males have a red patch on the back of the head.
The female lacks the red patch on the back of the head.

It is virtually identical in plumage pattern to the much larger Hairy Woodpecker. These species are not closely related at all, and they are likely to be separated in different genera; the outward similarity is a spectacular example of convergent evolution. Why this is so cannot be explained with confidence; it certainly is interesting to note that the species exploit rather differently-sized foodstuffs and generally do not compete very much ecologically.

Their breeding habitat is forested areas, mainly deciduous, across most of North America to Central America. They nest in a tree cavity, excavated by the nesting pair in a dead tree or limb. The Downy Woodpecker can also be found east of Newfoundland and Labrador, on the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.

These birds are mostly permanent residents. Northern birds may migrate further south; birds in mountainous areas may move to lower elevations. Downy Woodpeckers roost in tree cavities in the winter.

Downy Woodpeckers forage on trees, picking the bark surface in summer and digging deeper in winter. They mainly eat insects, also seeds and berries. In winter, especially, Downy Woodpeckers can often be found in treed suburban backyards and will feed on suet at bird feeders.

Enjoy - Bob

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  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2009-03-30 18:31]

Hello Bob,
Even though the weather didn't seem to want to cooperate, you still managed to capture a great image. Love the vertical composition and the surprised look in her eyes! Good detail with natural colors!! Great notes!! TFS.

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