Larry Stone's Iowa Listening to the Land

March 11, 2012

Resourceful Woodpecker

Filed under: Uncategorized — lstone @ 7:38 pm

Despite it's broken bill, this male red-bellied woodpecker has managed to eat enough pieces of sunflower hearts to stay plump and healthy.

Although this male red-bellied woodpecker somehow lost most of the top half of his beak, the resourceful bird has managed to stay otherwise healthy. Perhaps it’s because he’s learned to gorge himself on chunks of sunflower hearts from our bird feeder.

By tipping his head and shooting out that l-o-n-g tongue, the bird scoops seed after seed into what’s left of his bill, where they instantly disappear.

It will be interesting to see how long the red-bellied can survive, and whether his defective bill affects his ability to find a mate as the breeding season approaches.

We wonder whether his handicap may curtail his pounding on our cedar siding!

March 10, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — lstone @ 9:47 pm

Papa bluebird says "thanks" for cleaning out the nest box

Maybe that wasn’t the bluebirds’ intent, when they sat on the branch, sunning themselves on a balmy March afternoon. But I took it upon myself to anthropomorphize.

I’d just finished the spring clean-out of our bluebird boxes, prompted by occasional bluebird whistles I’d been hearing from the edge of the woods.

Within minutes, the male was perched atop one house, chortling softly to his mate. Then they both flitted closer to my window, and posed for several minutes with what I perceived to be an avian “thank-you.”

Sure, it’s still early in the season, and I hope the bluebirds won’t start nesting TOO soon. (We could have another blizzard or two before spring really arrives.)

But the longer days and the abnormally warm temperatures – and of course the freshly-cleaned bird houses – may have lit the spark.

What better way to welcome the new season than to watch the bluebirds prepare to start their family!

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