Tuesday, February 03, 2009

More red-bellied woodpecker

I hope it comes as no surprise to anyone that I am posting a few more of my red-bellied woodpecker photos. I do promise this will be the last of them. I was lucky enough to have my camera handy on Saturday afternoon when the woodpecker landed, though I moved very, very sloooowwwly as I raised the camera because I was scared to death that the bird would fly before I snapped at least one photo.

For a few brief moments, however, the planets aligned and I had both a red-bellied woodpecker in one hand and a camera in the other. The camera worked, the auto-focus worked and the photos were clear. Miracle of miracles. I guess it's okay now if I never win the lottery, because I've won another kind of lottery, one that's nearly as rare.

I've studied the photos fairly intensively (as you might imagine) since I took them, and I think the bird does look a bit on the rough side, perhaps a bit worse for wear. Hopefully, a few hours at my feeders helped with that, but of course I will never know.

11 comments:

Lynne said...

I am so excited for you to have had that remarkable experience. I always feel that contact of that sort with any wild creature is such a privilege. For me even eye contact makes me feel like I've been drawn into their world.

Carolyn H said...

Lynne, I agree that even something as fleeting as eye contact is an amazing moment. I've had that happen a few times with the local fox, and it just takes my breath away.

Carolyn H.

Kallen305 said...

Such a wonderful experience. I am so glad you shared more of the pictures.

I can't even imagine being that fortunate.

jeff said...

Having the experience is one thing, spend enough time outdoors and it is bound to happen. But to have the experience, have a camera and manage to get great photos, now that is special. Thanks for sharing.

Cathy said...

Excellent photos. This winter has been hard, we need a major thaw!!

phylliso said...

Wow,I`m so glad you shared more photos of him.Such a beautiful bird! He looks large in your hand,even though I know they aren`t real big,guess he`s fluffed-up.I hope this rest at your feeder gives him strength to fly on,phylliso

Carolyn H said...

All: Yes, I was as lucky as can be to have the experience and get the photos. I still can't believe it, frankly.

This bird had some weight to him, unlike, say chickadees, which can land on my hand and I still can't feel any weight to them. If it wasn't for the scratch of their feet on my hand, I could even miss noticing them if I was looking in the other direction.

The other thing, is that the woodpecker can really, really grip with his claws. I had to pry him off my hand to set him in the feeder, and that was no easy task in itself. Once I went inside again, the bird came out of its "freeze" mode and left.

Carolyn H.

John Briggs said...

Unbelievable! Having a Red-bellied Woodpecker sit on your hand. You are one lucky birder!

I thought I was lucky when I had a Black and White Warbler sit on my shoulder last summer. You are right, with the smaller birds you hardly know they are on you because they weigh so little.

nina said...

What an amazing moment.
Do you think he hit the window and was a bit stunned?
I've seen many fly off ours and it takes them a while before they're really "right" again.
At any rate, glad you were there to be sure something else didn't come along--a real predator!

Carolyn H said...

Nina, I thought at first that the R-b woodpecker might have hit the window, but I was right next to the window where the feeder is and didn't hear or see anything. Usually, I do and can hear them if they hit, so I don't think that was the case here. I have wondered if he struck the side of the house, but not the window. That would have been more difficult to hear, maybe, or at least a bit more muffled. I've seen that happen occasionally--usually warblers in the spring, though. It's a bit of a mystery, that's for sure.

Carolyn H.

KGMom said...

What a wonderful photo--the feathers, so distinct and glowing.
How fortunate that the planets aligned, and you received this gift.
Thanks for sharing.