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.

1 comment:

Rett said...

I'm just outside of Albany NY, and I just saw a bird that looked an awful lot like the bird with the tuft of red hair on his head! I've never seen one of these before. He was dark...with what looked like either white spots or stripes somewhere on his body, and a tuft of red feathers on his head. He flew by me so fast I didn't have time to get a good look. He was a good sized bird and graceful in flight. He looked so out of place here in upstate NY :)