I could have missed the drama that unveiled in front of my eyes two years ago if not for Pine Siskins and Red Crossbills.
Yep, two years ago siskins were frequent visitors to our backyard, and crossbills would show up from time to time, always a joy. When was it last time I saw them on our feeders?..
Anyways, it was a normal February day. Very dark, rainy and COLD. One of those days when you really don’t want to photograph, but rather just seat home and watch busy outside life through the glass doors to your deck.
There were year round residents – chickadees, nuthatches, juncos, sparrows, and then large flock of siskins and crossbills came.
Not everyday one sees crossbills just 12 feet away. Gotta at least to try and take a dissent photo, I thought, then sighed, and reached for my camera.
Carefully I opened the door, moved the chair close and stack my camera out…
I didn’t shoot once. Tens of wings made a frou-frou sound and all the birds disappeared! A second ago the air was filled with voices and now it went eerily quiet.
Not a soul,,. But wait! From the corner of my eye I notice a red spot on the black feeder pole, under the squirrel baffle:
Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens!
I never saw him coming! He probably was waiting for an opening in the squabbling crowd to get a nut.
Well, it’s all yours, go and pick the choicest seed! But no, he’s frozen, just the sparkle in the eye. No doubt, he’s hiding. and I know where to look.
Sharp-shinned Hawk, Accipiter striatus loves to eat from the feeders. That is not seed he is after, of course, but seed-eaters.
If tiny Downy wasn’t moving a muscle, Sharpie looked restless and agitated, looking and listening, searching, searching.
Suddenly Sharpie takes off and goes straight to the deck, towards hiding Downy!
But phew! s/he doesn’t see him and lands on the platform feeder.
And starts scanning the deck.
And what does our little friend do? Smoothly, he slides clockwise, again putting the pole between the hawk and himself.
He sat there long after the hawk was gone until leaving his cover.
And that is the story about little woodpecker that refused to become a meal :)