Another New Bird In The Garden

It’s been a rather wet, cold, and dismal weekend. One bright spot, though, was the sighting of another new avian visitor to the garden: the Red-headed Woodpecker. In fact, this was the first time either Judy or I had ever seen this particular bird, in the garden or out.

Red-headed Woodpecker on the Silver Maple in our back garden. The light was not great due to overcast skies.

This bird is really striking with its crimson head, snow-white body, and black wings with large white patches. Its unusual appearance has given rise to a number of common names, including Half-a-shirt, Shirt-tail Bird, Flag Bird, and Flying Checkerboard.

Unfortunately, the number of Red-headed Woodpeckers has declined dramatically in recent decades, mostly due to habitat loss. It likes open woodlands, especially pine forests. Its diet consists of insects and fruit, but sometimes will feed on suet at birdfeeders.


Judy and I are hoping to see this bird regularly in the future. Maybe it will even be nesting nearby.

44 Comments on “Another New Bird In The Garden”

  1. We have downy and pileated woodpeckers here. The pileated was up on the roof tapping away on the chimney and I though the house would collapse with the noise. He finally figured out he could not penetrate metal. On another note, I have cardinals nesting in an large ninebark bush. In 46 years I have never seen them nest in the yard.

  2. I’m so excited for you. I, too, saw the red-headed woodpecker in my yard a few weeks ago. It was the first time in my life that I had seen him. Unfortunately, he didn’t stay around. Just a few days ago, I was in a parking lot of a hospital and saw another one flying from tree to tree.

    In a recent post, you had photos of the rose-breasted grosbeak. That’s another bird I had never before seen. So gorgeous! He was at my feeders off and on throughout the day for about five days in late April and early May, and then disappeared. According to my bird book, he’s a migrator in my area (Richmond, VA) so maybe I’ll see him again during a future migration.

  3. What luck getting a life bird in your garden! It is a handsome woodpecker. They are so noisy and gregarious. We love watching them nest in the park not far from us. Congrats on the new garden bird.

  4. I’ve never seen one of these — lucky you! I do have a red-bellied who’s been stopping by my balcony to pick up some of the peanuts in the shell I put out for the bluejays and cardinals. With no yard and no trees other than palms, I never expected to see one, but now that I’m looking I see him on a palm tree occasionally. It’s a bit of an odd sight.

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