January Thaw

After the irresolute weather of the last two days—rain with temperatures below freezing, snow with temperatures above freezing—a true January thaw has settled in, sunshine and temperatures well above freezing. As the day warmed up the half-inch sheath of ice began to lose its grip on the cement of our driveway and I set about loosening it further. While plying the heavy steel ice spud a loud bird call overhead caught my attention. Looking up, I saw a Red-bellied Woodpecker on a branch high in our Red Elm. I set aside the ice spud and fetched my camera from inside, returning just in time for a single photograph before the bird flew.

The Red-bellied Woodpecker is not an uncommon visitor to our city lot. However, prior to identifying one for the first time several years ago, I was not aware of the existence of this bird. Having grown up near the Red River Valley in northwestern Minnesota, this species would have been far less common than here in southeastern Minnesota. I was familiar with Flickers which are about the same size and shape. Because of this, I believe my unsophisticated mind skimmed over them and mistook them for Flickers....for an embarrassingly long time. I didn’t possess name or knowledge and therefore the bird simply was subtracted from my perception of the world. A blindspot.

“It is not, on the whole, that natural phenomena and entities themselves are disappearing; rather that there are fewer people able to name them, and that once they go unnamed they go to some degree unseen. Language deficit leads to attention deficit.”
Robert Macfarlane, from Landmarks (2015)

According to The Birds of Minnesota by Thomas S. Roberts (1932), the Red-bellied Woodpecker extended its range northward into Minnesota a little over a century ago, the first documented sighting came in 1893. According to the iNaturalist map, the range of the Red-bellied Woodpeckers now extends throughout the state, even into Manitoba.

Publicado por scottking scottking, 19 de janeiro de 2017, 04:12 AM


Fotos / Sons


Pica-Pau-de-Ventre-Vermelho (Melanerpes carolinus)




Janeiro 18, 2017 12:02 PM CST


Red-bellied Woodpecker
Northfield, Minnesota


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