Monday, May 14, 2007

Woodpecker Mother's Day

I went home to see my Mom this weekend for Mother's day. Saturday afternoon, a seabreeze was slipping through the citrus trees in the backyard as I walked out the back door.

Mom and Emma were on the deck in the afternoon gold, with binocs watching another mother taking care of her baby and they called me over to see.

This Red Bellied Woodpecker chick seems bigger than his parents, yet he clamored for food constantly and they were working their feathered butts off to provide for him.

I thought of my own son and suddenly felt great kinship with these birds.

Eventually a squirrel showed up at the feeder, so they chose a higher perch, but the constant feeding continued. Mom would grab a sunflower seed from the feeder, open it for him, and then stuff the kernel into his open mouth.

No wonder he's bigger. From what I could see, he had not expended any energy. His Mom was clearly doing all the work.

Why did this seem so familiar to me?

Like Mom's everywhere, this Red Bellied probably feels like she's barely hanging in there some days ... but still she goes on.
Mother's day really ought to be a monthly holiday.
Posted by Picasa


Cathy said...

Oh! She does look a little frazzled. I'll 'second' the motion for the monthly holiday.

Cathy S. said...

Glad to know you are home safe and sound. Our son was making his way back to UWF and had to keep detouring to other roads as they were closed by smoke. He also got into a hail storm. I told him he should wait until today to go back, but would he listen to me, NO! I have a lot in common with the wood pecker mom. :0)

pissed off patricia said...

Yep, I have a new family of them too and they are "hanging" out at my feeder too. I bought all my momma birds a new pretty white concrete bird bath for Mother's Day. They haven't said anything but I'm pretty sure they appreciate it. The first to drink from it was a mourning dove. Cardinal was second and it was a female cardinal. A good time was had by all.

Wayne said...

Hadn't thought of all the smoke - we're so moist up here, just 300 miles north. It can't last, though.

Red-bellied woodpeckers are just about my favorites - I love pileated, of course, and the downies and hairies are great, but when it comes to fun, the red-bellied wins it hands down. I've tried photographing their antics and interactions with each other, but yours top them all.

robin andrea said...

What a great series of photos. That mom is really working hard to keep her big baby fed. She's going to feel so good when she stops.

Rurality said...

Great woodpecker shots! Bet they will be experiencing the empty nest symdrome before you are. :)

Leslie said...

Great series of photos for a Mother's Day post. I have a cousin near Clearwater and they've had smoke problems too. We're parched here and no sign of rain in our forecast. Totally different from last year.

Doug Taron said...

We have red-bellied even way up here in the frozen northlands. I've never seen them nesting, though we have gotten to observe nesting by red-headed woodpeckers for the past several years at the prairie that I help manage. Beautiful birds- I love woodpeckers.

Laura said...

Beautiful shots! I felt like I was right there watching them.

Hub was listening to a radio show yesterday and they were discussing the effect of the wildfires on the birds, especially the smaller ones that can't get away from the smoke. Lots of them have died as a result. :(

rcwbiologist said...

Red-bellieds make good alarm clocks, although they only work seasonally. We have a male who will start waking us up here in a couple of weeks, like he's done for the last 2 years, by pounding on our back rain gutter at approximately 6:00 AM.

vicki said...

It does sometimes feel as they get bigger and bigger and they just keep clamoring for food. It's an exhausting good time.

I wonder if my big baby is dining on Springbok tonight? Ewwww.

These are wonderful photos and I love the close up feeding shots. Thanks.

Floridacracker said...

Frazzled moms ... who knew?

Cathy S,
The smoke here has cleared with a refreshing rain last night.Woodpecker Mom said, "Hang in there."

How kind of you! I know they appreciate that water during this drought.

Why in the world did they name this bird RED BELLIED?
Speckleback, redcap, red mullet, redneck, but red belly???

She deserves a break. I bet she sleeps good.

I hope so!!

It's amazing how widespread this smoke is.

I love those redheads.

One of my friends said his hummingbirds have vanished since the smoke arrived. I need to check for my little buzzers.

Amazing how loud that pounding can seem.

Glad you liked them! I hope the Snarl is safely settled on her African adventure.

Sandy said...

That baby is bigger than it's mama. Great pictures!

Floridacracker said...

That's what I couldn't get over. He dwarfs her.

Deb said...

Why do I identify with that mother woodpecker? Maybe because I can almost hear the phrase "Hey Mom" come from the little one. :)

Floridacracker said...

Heard that before, have you?

SophieMae said...

You got rain?! We got about 20-30 drops. >8\

I always wonder, whenever I see those giant babies, why birds aren't big as Buicks by now. 8-} SUPER shots!!!!!

Floridacracker said...

Thanks Sophie!

Anonymous said...


Floridacracker said...

If you're going to advertise on my site, I'm afraid I'll have to send you a bill.