A red bellied woodpecker explores an old yellow birch tree for meaty morsels.
All photos at Waterford Oaks County Park: by Jonathan Schechter.
Pictures tell the tale. A red bellied woodpecker first drew our attention on the trail at Waterford Oaks County Park by its distinctive call.
And then we noticed it in flight: A beautiful bird with a gray belly, red cap and neck. But the black and white pattern makes me wish it was named the Zebra Woodpecker.
Another rolling shrill call and he alighted on a yellow birch tree and set about a mission of probing and drilling; most likley ingesting hibernating bugs and beetles. And then the bird vanished.
A few minutes later we caught a flash of red and realized we had spotted more than the woodpecker in flight or hunting for dinner. We had located the nesting tree! (We promised the woodpecker not to give out the exact location to protect his property investment but the tree is near a trail at Waterford Oaks County Park.) We watched for five minutes as he set about house-cleaning and home expansion. Every thirty seconds or so he would pop out at the entrance of his nesting cavity and toss out wood chips.
NOTE: For more on the hike at Waterford Oaks County Park read the print edition of Sunday's Oakland Press on January 23rd or look for the Hiking Column on the Oakland Press website at http://www.theoaklandpress.com/.
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