Monday, February 4, 2013

Past Ground Hog's Day!

 Red-bellied Woodpecker (male)
I must be too busy these days to keep up with all the blogs...its already a couple days past Ground Hog's day!  I guess he didn't see his shadow this year so we're in for an early spring!  Ha!  All in good fun.  
This is adapted from the studio blog but thought would make a good entry for the Tallgrass Journal as well.

I've been busy painting commissions this winter so don't have much to share yet.  But one thing that keeps things moving around here in the winter are the birds on the feeders outside the studio window.  One that's really pretty up close are the Red-bellied Woodpeckers!  Although not what you'd even closely describe as a prairie or grassland obligate, the Red-bellied Woodpecker is none-the-less common to the Savanna and prairie along the woodland edges.
 Red-bellied Woodpecker (female)
 (Red-bellied male's head detail)
  (Red-bellied female's head detail)

The way to distinguish the males from the females is the nape on the female's head is all that's colored (red), while the nape and crown on the male are both colored.  You can also see a red flush around the bird's beak and cheeks...its more prevalent on the male's as well.
The name of this woodpecker seems to confuse a lot of people.  Its named for the "red belly" - a mere smudge of color hard to see as the bird crowds the tree trunks and branches as it moves about.

We did manage to actually do a little seed collection out on the prairie pasture here yesterday afternoon!  It was really pretty pleasant for a change and we enjoyed it!  We had new visitors to the studio that also happened to be prairie enthusiasts, and in talking, found they were short some seed for their own private prairie restoration project - so we took a walk down the hillside here and did some gathering.  Although the birds have pretty much gleaned things pretty well, we still found a lot of what we were looking for. 
I like looking at February as a sign of spring - it is, after all, the last full month of winter!  Hope that Ground Hog was right - see you on the Tallgrass!

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