Panther Island Adventures!

Panther Island is 2,800 acres of restored wetland and upland habitats situated in the northwest corner of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary's 13,000 acres. It is home to numerous plants and animals including the Florida panther and the iconic wood stork.
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bird of the Week for March 15: Downy Woodpecker

The Downy woodpecker has got to be one of my favorite birds. This is the smallest woodpecker in North America and can be found throughout much of the continent, from the southern US border all the way up into Canada. This is a common woodpecker that is found usually in open woodlands (more often deciduous) and along streams. They also can be found in man-made areas such as parks and suburbs and will come to bird feeders to feed on suet and black oil sunflower seeds. Usually though they forage on insects such as beetle larvae, caterpillars, and ants. Because of its small size it can reach food out on smaller branches than other woodpeckers. I have even seen them on goldenrod using their stiffened tail feathers for support while trying to get at insects inside of a gall!
They are a monogamous species, and both sexes work to excavate the nest hole which is between6 and 12 inches deep. It widens at the bottom so that there is room for eggs and a parent. Wood chips line the bottom.  The entrance is only 1 to 1.5 inches wide. Both parents incubate the eggs for 12 days. The young stay for 20-25 days while being fed by both parents. The sexes look very similar but vary in that males have a red patch on the back of its head. These guys are similar in appearance to hairy woodpeckers which is a larger species with a longer bill.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't spotted one of these yet but I am hopeful.