Monday, March 15, 2010
The Picidae Quartet
Last Thursday and Friday, March 10th and 11th, as the temperatures warmed to the upper 50s and into the 60s, woodpeckers were suddenly active about the station. And for the first time this season, woodpeckers found the nets.
The male Pileated pictured was an old friend--of Jethro Runco, the first station bander! This bird, which I aged as an after-third-year bird by virtue of three generations of primary coverts, was banded by Jethro in the spring of 2006 as a third-year bird, meaning that this individual hatched in the Park during the 2004 breeding season. He was fit and trim and weighed 264 grams or 9.25 ounces. (You thought he would weigh more, did you not?) The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a handsome second-year male by virtue of the retained, brown, juvenile, body feathers on his breast (among other things). The male Hairy is a fine third-year bird because of retained, worn, inner primary coverts on his wings.
As for the Red-bellied female, she would not hold still for a picture until I agreed to let her grab my thumb (we reached an agreement that she would not peck a hole in it). The resulting image does not reveal how beautiful an after-third-year bird she is.