I was thrilled a couple weeks ago by my first Red-bellied Woodpecker. I spotted it back in the woods and, even as I was wishing it would come a little closer, it flew into the yard. It landed in the sumac, where it had a brief altercation with a starling (which took off), investigated the berries for a moment and then returned the treetops. Just enough time for me to grab my camera and stick my head out the door to snap a couple quick pictures. It’s hard to say whether I loved the look of it or its wonderful rolling call more.
As I waited outside later in the day, hoping for its return, I watched the starlings, robins (not spring robins, mind you, but stubborn winter residents), chickadees and goldfinches in the sumac. The woodpecker didn’t come back to the yard, but I could hardly be too disappointed when all these other birds were posing so nicely for photos.
This tree is the hub of bird activity in our yard. In this tree hangs the blue birdhouse that the House Wren calls home. Also, the feeder, frequented by chickadees and goldfinches, and such nomadic winter visitors as the Pine Siskin and Common Redpoll. The White- and Red-breasted Nuthatches, Downy, Hairy and Pileated Woodpeckers have all explored this tree’s limbs. Sparrows and juncos and finches, warblers and blackbirds, the cardinal, the Catbird and the Red-eyed Vireo, have all perched in its branches. And the Indigo Bunting, too, which appeared in a flash of surreal brilliant blue right before my surprised eyes. All these birds, and that is just some of what I know about. I can’t help but wonder… what else has stopped by in the sumac when I wasn’t watching?