Red-headed Woodpeckers graced our back yard with their presence this spring. This was the first time in 30 years that I’ve seen a Red-headed in the yard! Our first one hung around for a few days, called for a mate, and explored all the possible nesting sites. This aroused the wrath of the locals, but the Red-headed Woodpecker prevailed over even the Red-bellied Woodpecker, the neighborhood bully. One contender that it didn’t count on was momma Downy! I’ve never heard such a racket coming from such a small bird! Her maternal instincts outweighed the fear of the much bigger intruder who was checking out her nest hole. She drove him off and then checked her home to make sure all was well.
On the third day, another Red-headed Woodpecker showed up, obviously a different individual. It’s head feathers had not completely molted, and there were some gray feathers remaining. This means it’s a young bird (not old, like its human counterparts with gray heads!) Unfortunately, it moved on also, leaving behind other colorful birds like Indigo Bunting, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Baltimore Orioles coming to the feeders.