Playin’ Peekaboo on the Apple Tree

This gallery contains 4 photos. I don’t usually characterize woodpeckers as curious or bold. Those are adjectives I usually reserve for chickadees or hummingbirds. But the sight of the head of a female Downy Woodpecker suddenly and soundlessly popping up on the apple tree in the backyard in the early evening hours of July 2 was completely unexpected and quite hilarious.

00 - Heads Up - Downy Woodpecker, female

Rather ironically, I had the 500mm telephoto lens with me, because my intended subjects for the evening weren’t supposed to be closeups! But no one told Mrs. W. that. 🙂 So, putting the absurdity and humour of the situation aside, I backed off from the scant twelve inches between us to shoot some footage of her that wasn’t completely blurred.

01 - Curiouser - Downy Woodpecker, female

The Downies are masters (and mistresses) in inching up trees in seconds–like this one was! After previewing these photos, I noticed, for the first time, that Downy Woodpeckers actually sport grey spots on their sides. Somehow I missed that fact on their University of Cornell profile. 🙂

02 - Im Committed - Downy Woodpecker, female

Not five seconds later, and undaunted by the barrel of a super telephoto lens projected at her, she flew even closer … onto the half-depleted suet feeder … reducing the space between us to about six inches. So I backed off and gave her 3-4 feet of breathing room, content to just watch her feed. 🙂

03 - Inching Higher - Downy Woodpecker, female


7 thoughts on “Playin’ Peekaboo on the Apple Tree

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