Red Headed Stranger

No, this red-headed stranger, ….isn’t that Red Headed Stranger.  All last winter, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, Melanerpes carolinus, visited this suet feeder.  Almost on a daily basis, I’d see him twirling on the wire cage which holds the bar of rich suet for birds to peck from. The handsome fellow was shy and didn’t barge his way onto the feeder while another feathered friend snacked.  Once he landed on the feeder though, he would defend his food bar until he’d had his fill of suet-n-seed and was ready to move on.

For the first time this winter, during our recent blast of cold, wet late winter weather, he (or a relative)

Welcome back, red-headed stranger.

While Willie might croon Wild Side of Life, this gardener is going to warble about the wildlife that has visited her gardens in the last month on Wednesday, March 4 in celebration of Wildlife Wednesday.  Please join in, even if you’re not a redhead,

…and share photos and stories about your wildlife adventures.

The Wildlife Wednesday gardening meme occurs on the first Wednesday of each month and will be next Wednesday, March 4th.

25 thoughts on “Red Headed Stranger

  1. What a handsome fellow – so photogenic even if he is camera shy!

    Especially this past couple of weeks as the cold and damp weather has shut down a lot of our willingness to enjoy the outdoor spaces, I am looking forward to seeing who has seen what this go-round. Yay for Wildlife Wednesdays!


    • He is gorgeous.

      It has been cold and wet, but that’s a good thing, right? In winter? The birds have been all over my gardens recently, which is nice.


  2. Hmmmm. This red-headed stranger or Willie? Tough choice! He certainly is a pretty bird. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could tell our bird friends apart like we can our human friends? Every once in a while we do get that chance when a bird comes along with something just a tiny bit off, but not often. But then again, maybe its just as well we can’t. It helps keep the element of mystery alive.


    • It’s a tough one, I think this guy’s prettier, but Willie writes and sings better.
      I always wonder about that? Do birds (and other animals) see us as all looking the same, just like I can’t tell one blue jay from another? Hmmm. I’m guessing we all look the same to them. Mystery indeed!


      • Nah, I think they can tell the difference. I can go outside and some just sit there, look at me, then go about their business. My husband can do the same thing and they all instantly scatter. I think they become accustomed to people on an individual basis and know who is who (and what they’ll get out of them!)


      • It’s interesting that birds have a different reaction to you than your husband. I keep wondering if all the kissy-faces and conversation that I have with my seasonal screech owls has somehow offended them–no sign of brood box habitation this spring. I wonder what I said….


  3. You have some really striking birds over there Tina, that woodpecker must be an exciting visitor to your garden. I’m looking forward to your meme on Wednesday too. 🙂


  4. I had these guys visiting my feeders in Wisconsin during the late summer, through the fall and early winter. And then they were gone. Along with most of the other songbirds. I think we had some predators (birds of prey, foxes?) in the neighborhood, because the rabbits were gone, too.


    • This handsome dude is a red-bellied woodpecker. The Cornell Ornithology lab makes the point that there’s only a slight blush of that rusty/rufous coloring on the belly, so they suggest that it’s not aptly named. I couldn’t agree more. Did the namer not see the gorgeous red head???


  5. The weather has been keeping us from filling our feeders as we should. Hopefully, the weather will give me a break today and I can get out and fill those feeders up. I have seen some pretty hungry birds trying to get food out of the empty feeders. It’s making me feel guilty.


    • Fill’em up before the cold hits again! I still have plenty of berries on various shrubs/trees, but no takers there, though they do visit the feeders.


  6. I too had a red-bellied woodpecker hang around my suet and feeders most of last winter. While I’ve had some other varieties of woodpeckers this year, I have not yet spotted a red-bellied. However, I’m holding out hope because as soon as I complain about not seeing one after you have…a day or two later the same animal shows up in my yard. You seem to be a good indicator of what is coming my way (at least, I hope that is how this works)!


    • You know, I’ve never had anything BUT a red-bellied woodpecker visit. I’m not complaining, of course, but it’d be nice to have a variety of woodpeckers–I love them.

      I hope your theory/hypothesis is right–how would set set up that experiment to test it out??


    • The red-bellied is really gorgeous. I must say that I’d like to have other species visit, as I know there are others around, but I like this guy very much.


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