Friday, February 02, 2007
Don't Call Me Red-headed
When the Red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) comes to the suet feeder, the other birds leave in respect. The banging is heard all through the house as the Red-bellied pecks at the frozen suet.
About 10 inches long, the Red-bellied is the largest woodpecker that nests in our trees.
According to the Audubon Society's annual bird census figures, the Red-bellies are increasing in SW Michigan. We've happily noted the increase in our neighborhood.
This picture (swiped, not taken by me) is a Red-headed woodpecker ((Melanerpes erythrocephalus).
Frequently casual bird observers will call the Red-bellied woodpecker a Red-headed woodpecker because the Red-bellied has a partially red head. Since Red-headed woodpeckers are deep woods birds and rarely seen in our yard, I get jealous when I hear someone has spotted one. So, if you spot a Red-bellied please get the name right and spare me the sin of envy.
Mr. Redbelly fully seconds the motion that you not call him a Red-headed woodpecker.
He knew I was taking pictures and twisted around to flaunt his red belly at the camera so you can see how he earned his name.
This is Mrs. Redbelly.
She's a little shorter than the male and has a gray cap on the top of her head in place of his continuous red.