Saturday, May 21, 2011

Female Red-bellied Woodpecker Searches for Food

This week, Megan alerted me to a woodpecker on our bur oak, in close view from our kitchen window.
I ran upstairs with the camera, and saw that she was exploring the deep furrows.
Red-bellied woodpeckers use their really long tongues to help them explore deep within trees.  You can barely make out that the tip of the tongue has barbs to grab hold of insects.
She must really be on to something tasty!
Look at that tongue, it's pink!
She explored dozens of furrows and holes in the bark.
And came up with a meal, which I believe is a non-native house centipede.  

Woodpeckers have amazing adapdations for living in and around trees, it's really incredible that I was able to capture all of this detail right from my kitchen.  We love our bur oak, it is an incredible tree.

For more information about the amazing tongues of woodpeckers, including some very cool photographs, visit Hilton Pond Center.



  1. I love the woodies. Great series on the Red bellied. The closeups are awesome.

  2. Those are amazing photos - how cool to see a woodpecker tongue in action!

  3. Very nice. I also instantly saw all those legs and the pattern they make and thought house centipede. Such a distinctive creature. Great shots, very enjoyable exploration. =)

  4. Awesome shots Tom- thanks for sharing!

  5. Absolutely great close-up images. One can usually only see such detail on dead specimens. Thanks!

  6. Wow! These are incredible photos. I've never seen a woodpecker so close!

  7. WOW! You must have one heck of a long lens! These are fantastic shots!