can hear a red-bellied woodpecker pecking from a half mile away.
It could be drilling into trees for the beetles and insect larvae
it uses to supplement its largely vegetarian diet.
it's issuing a mating call and, simultaneously, a warning for
other male red-bellies to stay away. If it's already found a mate,
it could be working hard in a dead tree, digging out a gourd-shaped
nest to accommodate four to six glossy white eggs.
the shock of this incessant drumming, the red-bellied woodpecker
has a thickened skull and membrane surrounding the brain. This
noisy bird accompanies its percussive efforts with a diversified
repertoire of calls, including chur, cha, chip, chup, yuk and
ta-wik each in a series.
the red-bellied woodpecker's red belly patch often is difficult
to find, but it does have a bright red cap. This woodpecker also
has mostly gray under parts, a zebra-striped back and a white
rump. It grows to about 10 inches long.
a southeastern bird, the red-bellied woodpecker has extended its
range to southern Ontario. Besides thriving in swamp and flood-plain
woods, it has taken a liking to feeding stations in gardens. You
can attract this woodpecker with suet, peanut butter mix, nutmeats,
cracked corn, sunflower seeds and orange sections. When it must
fend for itself, it favors acorns, beechnuts, berries, and a modicum
of insects. Although red-bellied woodpeckers stow away large quantities
of food for future use, many of these birds never return to their
Text © 2000 Terry White, Drawing ©
2000 Bill Harrah