Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Probably a Downy, but you can call him Harry

I occasionally see woodpeckers out working the trees on our lot.  As these things go I won't have my camera with me and by the time I get back out with one to take a photo the bird has already moved well out of range.
Linda Blair in the movie The Exorcist has nothing on this guy
Even when I do get photos they rarely turn out.  Most woodpeckers seem sort of shy and on top of that they are very VERY busy feeders.  I can't tell you how many shots of woodpeckers I've excitedly taken only to discard in frustration when editing.
Once I get the shots I've taken of a woodpecker off my camera and onto my computer, I often can't identify the type or really even clearly see what they are up to.  It is an ongoing frustration.
Today proved to be at least partly an exception.  I did manage to squeeze off a handful of half decent shots of this little guy busily working the treetops, but once again, nothing as clear as I'd like, due to my distance and his motion.
I'm thinking this is probably a downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) because they are the most common to our area.  That said, in some of my photos, the head looks a little more square and the bill is a little longer than I'd been led to look for in a Downy. There is an outside chance this is a hairy woodpecker (Picoides villosus) even though hairy woodpeckers aren't typically seen in the hills around Austin.  So yes, probably a Downy.

The calls are distinctive and certainly would helped with an ID but this bird was busy eating and didn't cooperate with making any sound other than tapping on the tree branches.  Speaking of which...
These photos did clear up one question for me.  When the woodpeckers are tap-tap-tapping on the trees, they most definitely close their eyes.  I figured as much.  I know I'd close MY eyes.
Ladies and gents, say hello to Harry, the Downy Woodpecker.  (Probably...)


Tina said...

I'm impressed with your photos. I've had ZERO luck with photographing woodpeckers--they are shy and skittish. Congrats on the ID as well. He's so beautiful--I just love woodpeckers. In my neighborhood, I usually hear, rather than see, them. They're such a treat though.

TexasDeb said...

I think it is the heat (maybe the humidity?). As fast as this little guy was moving for whatever reason I was finally able to grab a few passable shots. First time for everything!

(How many mosquito bites did I get as a result? Too many to count!)