The Lifer Woodpecker

I looked up and saw a very small animal that appeared to be a lizard gyrating against a tree trunk. It was very high up, but having learned as a birdwatcher to take a closer look, I did. It was a very small bird that was pecking the tree. I noticed that it had a red cap and that it seemed to be similarly marked to the woodpecker I had seen before.  It was back to the guidebooks and my photograph collection. I labeled the Woodpecker I saw and photographed last March as a Downy Woodpecker. My major error was in ignoring the section of the guidebooks where it lists the size because the bird I saw then was the same size as the other Woodpecker I saw in the same tree that week. I knew it to be a Red-bellied Woodpecker. It is so critical to check each fact when using the guidebooks or internet before making the ID. I would have caught the error had I been more careful. Seeing the small Woodpecker was the only reason I doublechecked. When I went back to my photos and to the guidebooks, I also noticed the bill. The bird I photographed seemed to have a bill that was not small for its head size. It was exciting to find the Downy Woodpecker, a lifer for me, as it was an interesting little bird to watch. Of course, I like it when I know the birds I have seen before are properly ID’ed as the Hairy is now.  Missed photographing the real Downy, but here is the real Hairy.  -SLB

2012_03_19 Hairy Woodpecker
S. Pasadena, Florida

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