Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Red-bellied Woodpecker Vigorously Defends his Territory

My neighborhood White-breasted Nuthatches, Downy Woodpeckers and Red-bellied Woodpeckers have claimed this feeder as their own. Maybe because it’s so close to the tree they feel it’s an extension of the tree, and therefore, theirs. I don’t know, but I stock it everyday with them in mind, always including a mixture of peanuts and black-oil sunflower seeds. Today, as I looked out the window, a starling tried to squeeze in on the feeder action, and the red-bellied would have none of it.

Move on, mister, these seeds and nuts are mine!

Be gone, seed thief, or I will pull out a feather (and he did!).

I mean business, and I’m bigger than you…now!

Red-bellied Woodpeckers have several threat displays, such as raising the feathers on their neck and crown, or, as shown above, spreading out their wings and tail to appear larger to the intruder.

…not until the starling was long gone did the red-bellied feel calm enough to go back up to his icy treetop, knowing his feeder was safe.


Roy said...

We have lots of Red-bellies around here. And anybody who chases away a Starling is my hero.

troutbirder said...

Wow great shots of nature in the raw. A few years back a red belly took on a squirrel in my feeder and won the showdown.

Snowbabies said...

He's not giving up his spot without a fight! Lovely shots telling a story :-)


Abraham Lincoln said...

Starlings are notorious feeders and usually get their way at feeders or anywhere else. I like the red-bellied woodpecker too. Nice photos.

Kelly said...

Roy: It was amazing to watch. The woodpecker did not back down at all. First time to ever witness the feather threat display.
Trout: I had better tell my squirrels to watch out. They steal out of that feeder all the time!
Snowbabies: Thanks!
Abe: The past couple of days have brought in a lot more starlings than usual. I'm glad the woodpecker stood up to them. All the other birds shy away from them. Thanks!

Steve B said...

I'm glad to see the woodpecker stand up. The starlings are such a pressure on the woodpecker populations. I've seen starlings and flickers go at it for hours over a nest hole.

Kelly said...

...I was too, Steve. When I was watching them, my adrenalin surged while I was rooting for the woodpecker! I'm glad I had my camera at hand.