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 a downy woodpecker up and faces the new year’s winter

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No one needs incentive to venture out in the fine sunny weather we’ve been having here in PA.

So, while out, why not spot some local birds, or even tally some for the Great Backyard Bird Count (running through Monday)? 

Here are the birds we’ve been seeing this winter on a small stretch of Little Crum Creek:

    • blue jay
    • common grackle
    • American crow
    • dark-eyed junco
    • white-throated sparrow
    • house finch
    • hairy woodpecker
    • downy woodpecker
    • red-bellied woodpecker
    • tufted titmouse
    • chickadee
    • wren
    • nuthatch
    • cardinal
    • mourning dove
    • brown-headed cowbird
    • robin
    • house sparrow
    • starling
    • goldfinch
    • turkey vulture
    • red-tailed hawk
    • sharp-shinned hawk
    • Cooper’s hawk

Some are easier to count than others.  Some are easier to photo 

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From top: robin, house sparrow, goldfinch, downy woodpecker, starling.

   Before January’s snow drove one to the backyard suet, I’d been wondering if the Hairy Woodpecker mingled indistiguishably here with the Downy.  The two are said to be nearly identical, though the smaller Downy is much more common. Then first sight of the rarely visiting Hairy dispelled any doubt.  Even with tail tucked beneath the feed, he clearly outsized the other. This Hairy Woodpecker appeared occasionally, for about a week, and I haven’t seen him since.  

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Hairy Woodpecker

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Downy Woodpecker

Daily, several Downy Woodpeckers busily satisfy their cravings for bark-dwelling insects by scouring the tree sides of Little Crum Creek.

But, next to gray squirrels, the female Downy has also been autumn’s most frequent visitor to nearby suet cakes, often lingering until a peckish male, aggressively flashing his distinctive red patch, dispatches her for his own hasty feeding.

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