March 16, 2009
Old reliables, where are thou?
I'd say since the first few months of actually doing this whole backyard bird feeding that we have had a pair of Downy Woodpeckers visiting the property. A couple suet feeders have been hung in the trees right out back of the kitchen window. I can honestly say this too... that I can count on my two hands the number of days where they have NOT been seen right outside the kitchen window. Well, that is up until about two weeks ago.
Where have they gone? I am almost certain of them not disappearing at this time last year or years before... as I know many birds are pairing up, building nests, etc. They spend more time building a home for the young and are seen less during this time. I've been going back and checking my old calendars from the last few years (I jot down the species to visit each day).
They were fondly named "The Downys". Mr Downy and Mrs Downy. Mister has a red spot on the back of his head and Misses does not. I also called them "Old Reliables" because they were just that; you could count on them showing everyday and many times a day, all year round.
Quiet birds minus some small peeps. Gentle birds and rather brave (or just used to us). When feeding, one could easily walk right under them and not upset them.
A peaceful and simple pleasure to us; watching them as we had our morning coffee. A small addition to the soundtrack that is the backyard.
I hope it's just that they are busy getting ready for the coming of the young. There is an increase in the population of European Starlings the last few years and they are notorious for kicking Downy Woodpeckers out of their homes which can be harmful to the Woodpecker population.
I will wait for them and keep the suet out regardless in hopes of their safe return.