The novel Red-headed Woodpecker

This bird is rarely seen in Massachusetts

Walking along the Norwottuck bike path, I caught a flash of red at the top of a tree, but by the time I got my camera up it had flown. I thought I might have missed a pileated and was quite bummed but further along my walk I spotted that bird again at the top of another dead tree. Now I was thrilled to see that it was the ever (too me) elusive Red-headed Woodpecker.

It is impossible to tell the sex of these birds except with DNA testing, so I will call it “she” for this post.

She kept me entertained for 25 minutes, pecking around the tree and occasionally flying up into the sky – to catch a bug, I presume – and then returning immediately to the tree to keep pecking. I was truly enthralled, having never seen one before. At one point a Red-breasted Woodpecker arrived and worked lower down the tree. They were clearly aware of but not perturbed by each other’s presence.

If you look through this series, you will get a glimpse of my afternoon. Then imagine that for 25 minutes. I just sat down on the ground looking up, using my knee as a tripod, and enjoyed myself! I got to share my excitement with a few people who stopped to see what I was looking at. 9/12/22.

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