Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 68: He Chirps Too

Peters Hill, Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, MA, 6:45am-7:40am
very cold, breezy, various clouds

Maybe I should have set the start of winter as the Twentieth Downy Woodpecker (instead of Chicadee). He's everywhere!

I'd love to be able to identify a bird in mid-flight, just by its shape, size, and flight patterns.

One flight style I really like is the darting, swallow-like thing where the bird suddenly drops and sprints at incredible speeds in seemingly erratic directions.

Today's Bird was doing just that before he settled into focused consumption of a juicy berry. He was so engrossed in pecking at his fruit that after watching for a few minutes I wanted to try it too!

Tiny little guy, white chest, slender pecking/extracting beak, he was chirping non-stop. He flew off to a nearby tree when I got too close, though not before I saw the give-away spots on his wings. He then confirmed his ID by giving the new tree a couple of good, thumping pecks.

It was my first time connecting this chirp with a Downy Woodpecker. I've only noticed them pecking before. At home I sketched a piece based on the combination of monotone cheeps and percussive pecks.

P.S. Gorgeous sunrise today: purple clouds, and a build-up so intense and bright I was sure the sun had come up several minutes before it actually appeared.


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