poetry and prose about place

at the bird feeder #4 – Woodpeckers

with 6 comments

The bird feeder had a new visitor last Thursday, a woodpecker.  My husband saw it at the feeder, but by the time he had the camera ready, it was gone.  Undaunted, he went outside and chased the little lady through the woods until he had several photos.

We identified the bird from the photos.  There were two possibilities, a Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) and a Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus).  Both have a white stripe on the back.  The males of both species have a red patch on the back of the head (the one at our feeder was a female).  The differences between the two are body size (the Hairy Woodpecker is the larger of the two) and the size of the beak (the Hairy Woodpecker has a much longer beak, about 3/4 of the depth of the head).

We are reasonably certain our bird was a Hairy Woodpecker.  Its beak is noticeably long.  Also, the round cut branch on the tree in the photo (in front of the bird’s feet) is at least an inch in diameter, making the length of this bird about nine and a half inches.




Downy Woodpecker  (Picoides pubescens)


daft little bird

propped, pubescent, plump

bang your silly

head against the tree

eat a bug


your sculptor used

deft fingers

to point your beak

solidify your tail

paint feathers

foam on black water

snow on dark woods

night sky with planets


your downy crown



©  Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

January 14, 2012 at 9:45 am

6 Responses

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  1. Last winter, a hairy woodpecker slammed into my window. I dug him out of a snowbank thinking him dead, but he seemed uninjured, just dazed. I held him in my hand until he regained his senses (and got some lovely photos), then he flew away to nurse his headache. They are regulars at my feeders…a delight to watch, although they are not neat eaters!


    Deborah Carr

    January 14, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    • Hi Deborah. What a nice experience! They play a game called let’s-get-rid-of-the-millet! Jane


      jane tims

      January 14, 2012 at 8:34 pm

  2. Your drawing is beautiful.



    January 14, 2012 at 10:56 am

  3. Excellent poem Jane. Great opening! -Denis



    January 14, 2012 at 9:57 am

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