There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Downy Woodpecker

Picoides pubescens

Small woodpecker
White and black striped face
Short bill
Red patch on back of head (male)
White under parts
Black upper parts with white bars on wings
White stripe down center of back

Listen to its call.

Looking for a bit of protection from the wind, I decided to avoid the water today and check out the woods behind our house instead. I didn't have far to go. This bird was foraging for food just outside our gate. He was climbing around the trees, moving up and down the trunks quickly, as well as on the smaller branches. One of the advantages of his size, no doubt.

And a bit of trivia .... The Downy’s name refers to the soft white feathers of the stripe on its back.

Learn more about the Downy Woodpecker.


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