Woodpeckers in the queue

Downy Woodpecker  


The winter came back with full force to Eastern Iowa. We had about ten inches of snow and as a result I have never seen so many birds around our feeders as today. Between work duties and snow shoveling I made a few clicks through the glass door of the balcony. This doesn't take a lot of efforts because the camera is always mounted on a tripod and ready for action.

This little Downy Woodpecker was waiting in line to get to one of the suet feeders where obviously one of its siblings took its time feeding. There is an order at these feeders that is clearly dictated by size and strength. First come the Red-bellied Woodpeckers. Nobody would mess with their long and sharp beak. Next in line are the Hairy Woodpeckers. They look very similar to the Downys but they are bigger and have a longer beak as well. Finally the members of the big family of Downy Woodpeckers compete against each other. We have at least six of them here (2012 was a good year for their reproduction) and they all need to eat a lot in this kind of weather.


Two Downys


It is rare that the woodpeckers share a feeder but we have very cold temperatures coming in the next few hours and their metabolism is probably much higher than usual. I know, feeder images are not the gems of wildlife photography. But hey, I don't try to win a contest here, I just tell today's story about the Iowa winter here in the woods... ;-)