By Design: Woodpeckers

“I feel like I’m beating my head against the wall.” Obviously, that’s an expression we use to describe a pointless pursuit that accomplishes nothing but pain. However, it is an action that a woodpecker does on purpose… and apparently by design!

“God’s plan for the world stands up, all his designs are made to last.” Psalm 33:12, The Message

Silhouette of a Pileated Woodpecker at dawn. Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. May 4, 2020. ©www.williamwisephoto.com

I always marvel as I watch woodpeckers hammer away… chunks of bark and wood flying everywhere. I could only imagine how much my brain would be rattled if I were to try it myself. With all the concerns about concussions in high school and college athletes, it is clearly something humans weren’t designed to do.

But that is not true of the woodpeckers. The ability to hammer on hard objects with the front of their face is undoubtedly designed by a Creator. In Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation, Dennis Peterson writes, “The woodpecker is totally different from other birds. Every part of his body is especially fitted for drilling into wood.”

Red-headed Woodpecker; Greene County, Georgia birding, June 13, 2020. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

The woodpecker’s beak alone is designed for the job. It is harder than that of other birds, and the base of the bill is fitted with a shock-absorbing tissue not found in some other species. To go along with a beak designed for drilling, the woodpecker has a specialized tongue. Fashioned to fit into those freshly drilled holes, the woodpecker’s tongue is four times longer than the beak and wraps around the back of the bird’s skull! The tail, legs and claws are also specialized designs to help the woodpecker hold in place during his jack-hammer feeding sessions. And a keen sense of smell helps the woodpecker determine the precise drilling point to maximize the chance of excavating an insect.

All these wonderfully engineered traits could only come about by design. Partially evolved traits in a primitive ancestor would only result in broken beaks and a lot of headaches! These features are obviously designed to the woodpecker’s advantage and keep it from pointlessly beating his head against the wall!


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Woodpeckers in the Waterman Bird Collection

BJU Bird Collection 2018-Display Case 3 – Woodpeckers and Shorebirds

“If a bird’s nest happens to be before you along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young;” (Deuteronomy 22:6 NKJV)

The next Display case of the Waterman Bird Collection contains Woodpeckers from the Picidae family and some shorebirds from the Scolopacidae Family. [Next post]

BJU Bird Collection 2018
– Woodpeckers

This post is about the five Woodpeckers; Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), Black-backed Three-toed Woodpecker [now the Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus)], Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) and a Common Flicker [now the Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus).

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) 

BJU Bird Collection 2018 Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)  “The Pileated Woodpecker is one of the biggest, most striking forest birds on the continent. It’s nearly the size of a crow, black with bold white stripes down the neck and a flaming-red crest. Look (and listen) for Pileated Woodpeckers whacking at dead trees and fallen logs in search of their main prey, carpenter ants, leaving unique rectangular holes in the wood. The nest holes these birds make offer crucial shelter to many species including swifts, owls, ducks, bats, and pine martens.”

Pileated Woodpecker by Lee at Circle B

Pileated Woodpecker by Lee at Circle B

Cool Facts – “The Pileated Woodpecker digs characteristically rectangular holes in trees to find ants. These excavations can be so broad and deep that they can cause small trees to break in half.” [Pileated Woodpecker – All About Birds]

American Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides dorsalis)

BJU Bird Collection 2018 BJU Bird Collection Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus)

American Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides dorsalis) – “Found in boreal forests and montane coniferous forests across North America. Because of its choice of habitat, it is infrequently seen by most people.” “The “Three-toed Woodpecker” was split in 2003 into the American Three-toed and Eurasian Three-toed woodpeckers. The two species are nearly identical in appearance, but differ in mitochondrial DNA sequences and in voice.”

American Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides dorsalis) by Daves BirdingPix

American Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides dorsalis) by Daves BirdingPix

Cool Fact “Most woodpeckers have four toes on each foot. The three-toed and Black-backed woodpeckers have only three. The loss of the fourth toe may help deliver stronger blows, but at the expense of climbing ability.” [American Three-toed_Woodpecker – All About Birds]

Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens)

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) Male – Waterman Bird Collection BJU

Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) – “The active little Downy Woodpecker is a familiar sight at backyard feeders and in parks and woodlots, where it joins flocks of chickadees and nuthatches, barely outsizing them. An often acrobatic forager, this black-and-white woodpecker is at home on tiny branches or balancing on slender plant galls, sycamore seed balls, and suet feeders. Downies and their larger lookalike, the Hairy Woodpecker, are one of the first identification challenges that beginning bird watchers master.”

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) Brevard Zoo by Dan

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) Brevard Zoo by Dan

Cool Facts – “In winter Downy Woodpeckers are frequent members of mixed species flocks. Advantages of flocking include having to spend less time watching out for predators and better luck finding food from having other birds around.” [Downy Woodpecker – All About Birds]

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)

BJU Bird Collection 2018 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) – “On a walk through the forest you might spot rows of shallow holes in tree bark. In the East, this is the work of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, an enterprising woodpecker that laps up the leaking sap and any trapped insects with its specialized, brush-tipped tongue. Attired sharply in barred black-and-white, with a red cap and (in males) throat, they sit still on tree trunks for long intervals while feeding. To find one, listen for their loud mewing calls or stuttered drumming.”

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) by Daves BirdingPix

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) by Daves BirdingPix

Cool Facts – “Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have been found drilling sapwells in more than 1,000 species of trees and woody plants, though they have a strong preference for birches and maples.”[Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – All About Birds]

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

BJU Bird Collection 2018 Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) – “Northern Flickers are large, brown woodpeckers with a gentle expression and handsome black-scalloped plumage. On walks, don’t be surprised if you scare one up from the ground. It’s not where you’d expect to find a woodpecker, but flickers eat mainly ants and beetles, digging for them with their unusual, slightly curved bill. When they fly you’ll see a flash of color in the wings – yellow if you’re in the East, red if you’re in the West – and a bright white flash on the rump.”

Northern Flicker cropped by Lee at S. Lk Howard Ntr Pk

Northern Flicker cropped by Lee at S. Lake Howard Nature Pk

Cool Fact – “Although it can climb up the trunks of trees and hammer on wood like other woodpeckers, the Northern Flicker prefers to find food on the ground. Ants are its main food, and the flicker digs in the dirt to find them. It uses its long barbed tongue to lap up the ants.” [Northern Flicker – All About Birds]

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Picidae family

PICIFORMES Order

Some of the Previous Woodpecker Posts:

Wordless Woodpecker – Yellow-Fronted

 

“F” is for Finches and Flamebacks: “F” Birds”, Part 2

F” is for Finches and Flamebacks: “F” Birds”, Part  2

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Finches and Flamebacks are the focus of this fast “fly-over” birdwatching review. Finches are familiar passerines to many Americans, but what are “Flamebacks”?  Flamebacks are a category of woodpeckers, also known as “Goldenbacks”, due to fiery-gold plumage on their backs.  Think of the Flamebacks as woodpeckers who “wear” their “fiery gold on their backs, as opposed to Christians, whose faith is put through fiery trials in order to produce character valuable as refined gold.

GreaterFlameback.woodpecker-India-Wikipedia

GREATER FLAMEBACK   (Titus John photograph)

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. (1st  Peter 1:7)

I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.  (Revelation 3:18)

As noted in the prior study of this ongoing alphabet-based series (“‘F’ is for Flamingos and Frigatebirds), “F” is for Flamingo, Falcon, Frigatebird, Frogmouth, Fairywren, Flufftail, Fantail, Figbird, Fulvetta, Flatbill, Flycatcher, Flowerpecker, Firetail, Flameback, Flicker, Fieldwren, Foliage-gleaner, Fruitcrow, Fruiteater, Forktail, Francolin, Friarbird, Fody, and/or Finch — plus whatever other birds there are, that have names that begin with the letter F. This current study will ignore Flamingos and Frigatebirds, since they were previously reported, as noted above. Likewise, previous studies (posted on Leesbird.com) have looked at aspects of the password-teaching Superb Fairywrens (“Teach Your Children the Right Passwords!”); versatile Peregrine Falcons (“Northern Raven and Peregrine Falcon”); resourceful Vermilion Flycatchers (“Vermilion Flycatchers”); and a Colorado-dwelling Northern Flicker (“Want a Home in The Mountains?”).

So this study will briefly review some finches and some flame-backs.

CrimsonFinches-breedingpair-Australia.Wikipedia

CRIMSON FINCH breeding pair, Australia  (Wikipedia)

The Amazon-dwelling Saffron Finch has already been reviewed, by Lee Dusing . Also, the Australia-dwelling Crimson Finch has already by featured, as studied by Ian Montgomery. Likewise, the birdfeeder-visiting American Goldfinch has been considered by Lee Dusing. Moreover, ornithologist Lee Dusing has reviewed multifarious categories of finches (as they are generically defined by avian taxonomists), on various occasions (including, e.g.: Sunday Inspiration – Finches I; Finches II; Finches III; Finches IV and Sunday Inspiration – Inca, Warbling and Various Finches; etc.).

So this study will now look at 2 reddish finches that frequent the State of Texas: the Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus) and the House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus). The former finch is famous for having been described by Roger Tory Peterson as a “sparrow dipped in raspberry juice” [Quoting Roger Tory Peterson, A FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF TEXAS AND ADJACENT STATES (PETERSON FIELD GUIDES, (Houghton Mifflin, 1988), page 243.]  Thereafter, a category of woodpeckers, called “Flamebacks”, will be considered.

For starters, consider the ubiquitous House Finch.

HouseFinch-male.GlennBartley-WichitaStateU-pic

HOUSE FINCH male (Glenn Bartley photo)

HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus, f/k/a Carpodacus mexicanus)

The House Finch is a widespread as any American finch, being a year-round resident in all of the contiguous “lower 48” states. This nationwide range is relatively new in America’s eastern half, as the House Finch was previously reported as a Western range resident.  [See Roger Tory Peterson, EASTERN BIRDS A COMPLETELY NEW GUIDE TO ALL THE BIRDS OF EASTERN AND CENTRAL NORTH AMERICA), 4th edition (Houghton Mifflin/ PETERSON FIELD GUIDES, 1980), page 270 & Map 356.]

Consequently, Easterners who are accustomed to viewing Purple Finches (discussed below) need to look more carefully, because the two are similar enough to be mistaken one for another.

There is another “cousin” who adds to the identity confusion – the Cassin’s Finch (Haemorhous cassinii, f/k/a Carpodacus cassinii), which habituates only America’s West.

CassinsFinch-male.BirdwatchersDigest

CASSIN’S FINCH   (Birdwatchers Digest photograph)

The three finches, together, are grouped as the “Haemorhous Finches”, i.e., the trio of small reddish-on-brownish finches.  [TAXONOMIC CAVEAT:  Although I don’t know of genetic/hybridization studies on Haemorhous finches (yet they recently they became grouped together as a “clade” separate from the Carpodacus “rosefinches”), I won’t be surprised to learn that these American Haemorhous finches can (and do) interbreed, i.e., hybridize; if so, this would prove that they descend from related pairs of Ark-borne ancestors, and ultimately descend from an original created “kind” pair created by God on Day #5 of Creation Week.]

This recent addition to our eastern avifauna [i.e., the House Finch] is often mistaken for the Purple Finch, with which it may associate at the feeding tray. It [i.e., the House Finch] is smaller; male brighter red.  Note the dark stripes on the sides and belly.  The striped brown female [House Finch] is distinguished from the female Purple Finch by its smaller bill and bland face pattern (no heavy mustache or dark cheek patch).  . . . Range: W. U.S. to s. Mexico.  Introduced in ne. U.S. about 1940; spreading.

[Quoting Roger Tory Peterson, EASTERN BIRDS A COMPLETELY NEW GUIDE TO ALL THE BIRDS OF EASTERN AND CENTRAL NORTH AMERICA), 4th edition (Houghton Mifflin/PETERSON FIELD GUIDES, 1980), page 270.]

In other words, when distinguishing a male House Finch from a male Purple Finch, notice that House Finch males has more prominent brownish streaking on the sides of their bellies, whereas the Purple Finch males have less or none.  Also, the reddish color of the Purple Finch really is tinted a bit more purplish, i.e., its red is more of a crimson-fading-into-pink, whereas the House Finch male has more of a scarlet-to-vermilion hue, depending on available lighting.

Thus, nowadays, if you see a finch with a crimson-reddish top and front, that blends into a brownish underside and wings, it is likely a House Finch (as opposed to a Cassin’s Finch or a Purple Finch).  For another view of how the House Finch is less crimson in plumage than the Purple Finch, see the House Finch photograph (by Ian) featured in Lee Dusing’s “Sunday Inspiration – Finches III” (3-20-AD2016).

Ornithologist Fred J. Alsop III describes the House Finch as follows:

Originally confined to the West [as earlier bird-book range maps indicate], this finch was called a Linnet and introduced as a cage bird on Long Island, New York, in the 1940s.  It became abundant in the East, [supposedly there] surpassing the House Sparrow [a/k/a English Sparrow, a passerine introduced form Britain to America many generations ago].  Today, it is among the most widely distributed songbird species in North America.  It often feeds with the Purple Finch, especially in winter.  Some male variants are orange or yellow instead of red.  Juveniles resemble adult females [which are Earth-tone brown in plumage].   . . .  Solitary or in pairs during nesting season.  Gregarious.  Forms small family groups when young become independent.  Larger foraging flocks in winter may join with other finches.  Actively forages on the ground, in fields, and in suburban areas.  Eats mostly seeds but in summer takes insects and fruits.  Drinks maple sap.  Males are conspicuous and sing often.  Studies indicate that the redder the male’s plumage, the more desirable he is to females.  . . .  Abundant over much of North America in a wide variety of habitats, from arid scrub, wooded canyons, cultivated fields, and open woodlands to suburban yards and urban areas.

[Quoting Fred J. Alsop III, BIRDS OF TEXAS (DK Publishing/Smithsonian Handbooks, 2002), page 536.]

HouseFinch-RangeMap.AudubonFieldGuide

HOUSE FINCH range map  (credit: Audubon Field Guide)

The House Finch is resourceful when building a nest.  It may construct a nest using “[t]wigs, grass, leaves, rootlets, bits of debris, and feathers … in tree hollows, cactus, on ground, under eaves of building[s], in bird boxes, abandoned nests, shrub[s], tree[s], etc.”  [Again quoting Alsop, BIRDS OF TEXAS, page 536.]

Now for a look at the Purple Finch, the Haemorhous finch that formerly dominated America’s Eastern seaboard.

PurpleFinch-male.photo-MoDeptConservation

PURPLE FINCH male  (credit: Missouri Dep’t of Conservation)

PURPLE FINCH (Haemorhous purpureus, f/k/a Carpodacus purpureus)

Ornithologist Fred J. Alsop III describes the Purple Finch as follows:

The male [Purple Finch] is easy to identify [sicthis confidence clashes with the conclusion of others, especially now that the ranges of Purple Finch and House Finch overlap as they do] …by its raspberry-colored plumage, brightest on the head, rump, and chest. Foraging in winter flocks, these birds depend on feeders when food supplies are scarce.  Juveniles are similar to adult females [which are brownish with no crimson plumage]; both have two white wing bars.  . . .  Eats seeds, some fruits, insects, and caterpillars in summer.

[Quoting Fred J. Alsop III, BIRDS OF TEXAS (DK Publishing/Smithsonian Handbooks, 2002), page 534.]  The Purple Finch has nesting habits similar to those of the House Finch (q.v., above).  Unlike the ubiquitous year-round range of the House Finch, the range of the Purple Finch is largely migratory.  (See below.)

PurpleFinch-RangeMap.AudubonFieldGuide

PURPLE FINCH range map (credit: Audubon Field Guide)

Pity the Purple Finch – some criticize its name, by stating the embarrassingly obvious: it’s not really “purple” in plumage, it’s more like raspberry red!  The Audubon Field Guide observes:

This species is common in the North and East, and along the Pacific seaboard, but it is very rare in much of the Rocky Mountains region. Purple Finches feed up in trees and on the ground in open woods. They readily come to bird feeders; but they have become less numerous as feeder visitors in the Northeast, where competition with introduced House Sparrows [which appear overpopulate common ranges by double] and then House Finches may have driven them back into the woods.

[Quoting http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/purple-finch .]


Having met two of America’s Haemorhous finches, and noting how their range habits contrast, a brief introduction to Flameback woodpeckers follows — specifically, 3 large woodpeckers from the tropics of southern Asia, including the White-naped Flameback (Chrysocolaptes festivus), the Common Flameback (Dinopium javaneense), and the Crimson-backed Flameback (Chrysocolaptes stricklandi).

CrimsonbackedFlameback-SriLanka-endemic

Crimson-backed Flameback, Sri Lanka endemic    (Pinterest)

FLAMEBACKS (a/k/a “Goldenbacks”, although some plumage “flames” are red!)

Although the plumage coloration is obviously different, the overall form (and crests) of South Asian “flameback” woodpeckers may remind birdwatchers of America’s crow-sized, forest-dwelling Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) or the (perhaps-extinct) Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), and/or of Mexico’s somewhat-similar Imperial Woodpecker (Campephilus imperialis) or Pale-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus guatemalensis).

CrimsonbackedFlameback-SamindaDeSilva-Flickr

CRIMSON-BACKED FLAMEBACK   (Saminda De Silva photograph)

CRIMSON-BACKED FLAMEBACK (Chrysocolaptes stricklandii)

This flameback is seen in Sri Lanka, the island (formerly known as Ceylon) off the south-central coast of India. Some deem it as a color-variant “subspecies” of (i.e., due to its crimson back-feather plumage, a variety distinguishable from) the Greater Flameback (Chrysocolaptes guttacristatus – see below), a similar woodpecker (with gold-dominated back feathers) found in India, and elsewhere on parts of the Indian subcontinent, southern China, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

WhitenapedFlameback.Pinterest

WHITE-NAPED FLAMEBACK   (Pinterest)

WHITE-NAPED FLAMEBACK (Chrysocolaptes festivusi)

This insect-snatching woodpecker is seen in parts of the Indian subcontinent (India and Nepal), as well as in Sri Lanka. Unless some other mega-sized woodpeckers, its population dynamics are stable.   Although the more colorful male has a red crown, the female’s crown is yellow.  (Sexual dimorphism is a good thing, especially to birders who want to know what they are viewing!)

CommonFlameback-MikeBirder-MalaysianBirdingBlog

COMMON FLAMEBACK   (Mike Birder / Malaysian Birding Blog)

COMMON  FLAMEBACK (Dinopium javaneense)

The Common Flameback (a/k/a “Common Goldenback”) has a range that includes Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India’s southwestern coastline. Notice the male’s crest is red; the female’s is black.  This woodpecker prefers forest living – as do woodpeckers in general (i.e., they like woods, where they can peck wood!).  This flameback frequents deciduous woodlands, parks, gardens, farmlands, mangrove swamps, and scrublands, as well as higher-elevation pine forests.  Invertebrates (e.g., including larvae) are favored fare for famished flamebacks!

CommonFlameback-female.WikipediaCommons

COMMON FLAMEBACK female   (Wikipedia Commons)


God willing, the next contribution to this alphabetic series will be about some “G” birds – perhaps the Green Jay, Gila Woodpecker, Gilded Flicker, Glossy Ibis, Golden Eagle, Gyrfalcon, Griffon Vulture, Granada Dove, Golden Pheasant, Golden-crowned Emerald, Golden-headed Quetzal, Golden Fruit Dove, Grand Cayman Thrush, Grey Jay, or Grey Heron, — and/or maybe a couple from the varieties of Geese, Grebes, Grouses, Gallinules, Goldfinches, Gnatcatchers, Goldeneyes, Goshawks, Godwits, Guillemots, Guineafowls, Grosbeaks, Grackles, Grassbirds, Grasswrens, Gulls, and/or Go-away-birds!  Meanwhile,  enjoy the fiery faith-trials that produce golden character!      ><> JJSJ   profjjsj@aol.com

Lee’s Two Word Tuesday – 3/14/17

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Green Woodpecker with Weasel On Its Back ©Martin Le-May

HEAVY BURDEN

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“For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.” (Psalms 38:4 KJV)

Green Woodpecker with Weasel On Its Back ©Martin Le-May

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More Daily Devotionals

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Woodpecker With A Weasel On It’s Back

Green Woodpecker with Weasel On It's Back ©Martin Le-May

Green Woodpecker with Weasel On It’s Back ©Martin Le-May

You have to see this:

Amateur photographer Martin Le-May, from Essex, has recorded the extraordinary image of a weasel riding on the back of a green woodpecker as it flies through the air.

http://focusingonwildlife.com/news/weasel-photographed-riding-on-a-woodpeckers-back/

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Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” (Luke 19:2-5 NKJV)

Maybe the Weasel, like Zacchaeus, thought Jesus was going to come by and he wanted to get a better look.
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Picadae – Woodpeckers

Wordless Birds

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Zoo Miami’s Greater Yellownape

Greater Yellownape (Chrysophlegma flavinucha) female Zoo Miami by Lee

Greater Yellownape (Chrysophlegma flavinucha) female Zoo Miami by Lee

For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck. (Proverbs 1:9 NKJV)

Here is one of my favorites at Zoo Miami’s Wings of Asia Aviary. They have 87 species and they are all my favorites, but this one is further up the scale. This is a Greater Yellownape (Chrysophlegma flavinucha) female and believe it is the only Yellownape there at present.

Dan and I went back down to Zoo Miami this week and spent two days just in the Aviary. When we were there earlier this year, most of my photos did not come out well. After some adjustments to my Panasonic Lumix FZ47 point-n-shoot (which I shoot in “program mode”), things didn’t do much better at first the first day. More adjustments and these came out better. Tuesday night in the motel, Dan made some more fixes. Yesterday, I finally got some really nice photos which I will share later.

Greater Yellownape (Chrysophlegma flavinucha) female Zoo Miami by Dan

Greater Yellownape (Chrysophlegma flavinucha) female Zoo Miami by Dan

My son, keep your father’s command, And do not forsake the law of your mother. Bind them continually upon your heart; Tie them around your neck. (Proverbs 6:20-21 NKJV)

For those of you into photography, the problem is that the Aviary is well landscaped with lots of trees and is covered with its wire mesh. My ISO and lens speed were to low to compensate for the environment. My camera normally does well when I am “outdoors” and not in an aviary. (As for ISOs and F-stops, I don’t know much them. I would rather study about the birds and let Dan worry about the camera.)

Back to our Yellownape. This is another neat creation from its Creator. They belong to the Woodpecker – Picidae Family. At the aviary, they call it the Greater Yellow Naped Woodpecker.

List of birds at Wings of Asia - Greater Yellow Nape

List of birds at Wings of Asia – Greater Yellownape

From a copy of their list, you can tell it is a female and the only one. The list has the number of males first, then number of females and then the third number is unknown sex. Every day they check on the birds and try to find each one. If after 3 days a bird isn’t spotted, then a real search begins. By following the counters around, who were very friendly and willing to help with names of birds, many of the birds come out and into view. Could it be because the counters have food with them? In fact some of the birds make themself right at home on the cart.

Counters with friends

Counters with friends

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Counters with friends making themselves at home

Counters with friends making themselves at home

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Counters with friends making themselves at home

Counters with friends making themselves at home

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Actually the Yellownape came in close the second day, but I failed to get her photo, but Dan captured her in the second photo as she was eating worms from the hole in the tree. The worker had just placed some worms there to bring the birds in closer so they could be counted.

The Greater Yellownape is a large, olive-green woodpecker with prominent yellow-crested nape and throat. Dark olive-green with grey underparts. Crown brownish and flight feathers chestnut barred with black. Bill often looks whitish. “Nape” is the back or base of the neck area. See Birdwatching Term – Nape

It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. (Wikipedia)

Included in the photos below is a photo of a male from Wikipedia. Notice his line on his chin is more yellow than the female. Here is more of a rusty color.

Here are the photos of the Greater Yellownape (Chrysophlegma flavinucha).

“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. …It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’ ” (Luke 15:20, 32 NKJV)

See:

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