Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)

I like the red cap.

Scientists are beginning to find evidence that being in nature has a profound impact on our brains and our behaviour, helping us to reduce anxiety, brooding, and stress, and increase our attention capacity, creativity, and our ability to connect with other people. Sitting in my backyard watching the antics of the woodpecker, feeling the sunlight on my skin, makes me feel happy and hopeful.

The Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) is a medium-sized woodpecker. The bird's upperparts are mostly black with white barring on the wings, while the lower back, rump, and belly are a pale red, although the red on the belly is often difficult to see. The head features a distinctive red cap on males, while females have a smaller red patch or no red at all. I think a better name could have been red-capped woodpecker.

I see the Red-bellied Woodpeckers all around town, including the nearby deciduous forests, mixed woodlands, and parks. They are omnivorous, feeding on insects, spiders, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Their strong bills and long tongues allow them to extract insects from tree bark and probe into crevices for food.

From my backyard I can sometimes hear the woodpeckers drumming and tapping sounds, which they use for communication, marking territories, and foraging for food.

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) · 15 April 2024 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR