Red-bellied woodpeckers live year-round in our part of the Southeastern U.S., but we haven’t seen many in past years. In the past few weeks, however, we’ve seen them daily at the bird feeder.
Red-bellied woodpecker facts:
- These birds sometimes wedge large nuts into bark crevices, then whack them into manageable pieces using their beaks. They also use cracks in trees and fence posts to store food for later in the year.
- They may occasionally be seen flying quickly and erratically through the forest, abruptly changing direction, alighting for an instant and immediately taking off again, keeping up a quick chatter of calls. Scientists categorize this odd behavior as a type of play that probably helps young birds practice the evasive action they may one day need.
- A Red-bellied Woodpecker can stick out its tongue nearly 2 inches past the end of its beak. The tip is barbed and the bird’s spit is sticky, making it easier to snatch prey from deep crevices.