Birds: the long, the short and the hoary

We have a good variety of birds that visit our feeders most winters. The other day, one of the visitors included a Hoary Redpoll.  All Redpolls nest in the Arctic tundra and are sporadic visitors to us in the winter.  This winter has been exceptional with as many as 130 Common Redpolls at our feeders at one time.  Hoary Redpolls are whiter, “frostier”, than Common Redpolls and occur in much smaller numbers – this is the first time we’ve spotted one in our yard. Matter of fact, the first time we’ve ever seen one – life bird!

hoary.4.jog

Female Hoary Redpoll

Then, today, we were visited by both our smallest and largest woodpeckers.

Downy and Pileated Woodpeckers

Downy and Pileated Woodpeckers

In the picture, the one on the left is a female Downy Woodpecker, about 6-1/2″ long.  The one on the right (and about 2 feet behind the downy) is a juvenile female Pileated Woodpecker, about 16″ long.  Downies are regular feeder birds for us.  We’ve had as many as seven at our feeders at the same time and can pretty much guarantee that one will be in our yard at almost any time during the day.  Although we have seen Pileated woodpeckers from time to time, they’re not an every day bird for us – in fact this is the first time in 35 years that we’ve had a Pileated at the feeders in our yard.  They’re spectacular, crow-sized birds with a striking black and white pattern when in flight as seen in this short YouTube video I found (not taken in our yard). .

Like I said, spectacular bird and in my yard!

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