That bird feeding station outside my window just never ceases to give pleasure and amaze.
I was happy to show off my resident Red-bellied Woodpecker to Cousin Sally when she was over for Christmas dinner yesterday. Or rather, he was showing off his skills in clinging to the suet feeder swallowing chunks of food. He is not a super regular visitor. So that makes him a bit special when he does show up.
When that Red-belly showed up, conversation turned to woodpecker species. “What’s a Northern Flicker look like?” Well, since I just so happen to have two birding books on the end table in front of the window ….. here. See? The closest to my house I’ve ever seen one? Oh, that was in the forested area around the ponds out back. Never around my feeders.
Today I was pleasantly surprised by a NEW woodpecker species visit. A … could it be? But … does it winter around here? A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker! Quick! Check the “Birds of Illinois” book to make sure I can believe my eyes. Yes! Illinois is on the northern edge of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker’s winter territory. More are found in southern Illinois than here in the north this time of year. To be sure, I’ve spotted them in the local forests in early spring. But … here? In my yard? In winter?
A quick check of the Illinois Birder’s Forum website and the local Christmas Bird Count listings prove it. Six Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were sighted at my local arboretum during the CBC on December 15th. So, it’s confirmed! They’re in the area and a new bird species has made its appearance outside my birding window. It was not at the feeding station, but that could change. What a wonderful thing it would be to have a close-up view of a resident Yellow-belly enjoying the suet feeder!
We birders get excited about the craziest things!