Welcome to Week #27 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #27 challenge is Birds with Red Feathers.
Thought as we approached the holidays, red was a good color! Now, I know many of you will post Northern Cardinals and I can’t wait. I have some today, myself. Next week is Birds near the water or snow. I’m hoping some of you have cardinals in the snow because I sure don’t.
The feature image is a Pileated Woodpecker. The old Woody Woodpecker himself. More information on him below. Keep scrolling!
Northern Cardinals are found in much of North America but not in most of the northwestern states. They can be seen off the mainland in Hawaii and Bermuda plus Central America. Within a couple of weeks of the time to build a nest, the female starts looking for possible sights. The male tags along behind her. He is her support system. The male and female will hold nesting material in their bills while calling back and forth as they assess each site. So when you hear one in one tree and another in a tree tweeting across the way and it is mating season, chances are they are in search mode for a home for their next brood.
Thought I would give you another look at the the Painted Bunting this week. This guy was gorging at the feeder located near the Ranger’s Station at Little Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville, Florida.
The House Finch is a North America bird that can also be found in Hawaii. They get along well with other song birds such as other finches, titmouse, chickadee, cardinals and others. They play nice with others and share the food at the feeders. They prefer the small, black oil sunflower seed. This bird was originally a bird of the western United States and Mexico. A few House Finches were turned loose on Long Island, New York in 1940 after many failed attempts to sell them as caged birds. They began to thrive and expanded their range into Canada and throughout the Eastern United States. The red of the male, seen above, comes from the pigments contained in its food during molt. The more pigment in the food, the redder the male. This one has been eating some dark pigment food. Females prefer to mate with the reddest males. Possibly because it gives them the greatest chance of a male to do his part in feeding the young.
This Red-bellied Woodpecker let me go outside, sit on a rock about 6 feet from the feeders while he flew back and forth about 30 times from the feeders to the Palm Tree. He was stocking up for the winter. Totally oblivious that I was there or maybe just didn’t care. He was on a mission! This was my 15 minute break last Sunday and it was wonderful to be outside and capture this moment.
The Red-headed Woodpecker will occasionally visit feeders in the winter but I’ve never had one at my feeders. They prefer suet! We had to drive all the way to Georgia to the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge to see this one. We saw 10 in all that day.
The Red-winged Blackbird is predominant throughout North America. This male is quite striking in his silky black feathers with a spot of red and yellow, while the female is similar to most sparrows in color. She is a streaky brown. They can be found almost anywhere but are found in great numbers in marshes and wetlands. This one posed up right nicely while singing loudly at St. Marks Wildlife Refuge near Tallahassee, Florida.
The Red Crossbill was on my target list when we visited Yellowstone National Park in September, 2019. This bird is in the finch family but the the bottom and top bills overlap allowing them to break unopened cones that give them an advantage over other finch species. They are quite adaptable and will nest wherever and whenever there is an abundant amount of food, sometimes even in the winter. There were a pair by the stone bed along the Yellowstone River while we were having a picnic lunch. This was the best of the photos. Life bird right here!
The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in North America. They will sometimes visit backyard bird feeders, especially for suet. If you have a dead or dying tree on your property, consider leaving it as long as it isn’t a danger to property damage. The woodpeckers, along with nuthatches will forage and roost in these dead or dying trees.
Talk about a red feathered bird. The Vermilion Flycatcher’s genus name is Pyrocephalus which translates to “fire-headed”. There are 12 subspecies of the Vermilion Flycatcher that are found in the southwestern US down to Chile in South America. The male will bring a gift, such as a butterfly or flashy insect to the female when courting.
Cassin’s Finch is similar to the House Finch in color, but is found in the mountains of western North America. In the winter, they will visit feeders with sunflower seeds. Like the House Finch, the red comes from the pigments garnered from eating colorful foods like orange berries or firethorn plants. We captured this guy at Mt. Charleston just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a life bird for us at the time in 2016.
Upcoming challenges can be found on my Bird Weekly Challenge Page.
Until next week…Week #28 – Birds near or in the Water or Snow