Monday, March 13, 2017

Brown Creeper/Downy Woodpecker

The recent warm weather left us with no snow cover. Beneath the bird feeder is white with suet crumbs, which brought several tree-haunting birds onto the ground. A Brown Creeper (8 March—upper photo), Hairy Woodpecker (10 March), and several Downy Woodpeckers (11 March)—lower photo) all feasted on the detritus. As I write this on 12 March, the cold weather has returned. We expect 10 inches of snow by midday Monday.

When I took the photo of the Downy Woodpecker, I did not notice the faint, red stain on the back of her crown. This area is where male Downys are bright red. What caused this abnormality?  Too much testosterone in a female bird? Too much red pigment in the bird’s diet? Left-over juvenal plumage? A gynandromorph? No clue.


  1. Brown Creepers: Don't often feed on the ground. However, when a suet feeder is put up on a vertical surface similar to the tree trunks they feed on, they'll go to the ground to pick up suet crumbs. Could you hypothesize on why? (Based on personal observation.)

    Nice catch on that pink patch on the Downy!

    1. I assume it is a hungry creeper that feeds on the ground :-)