This woodpecker has been hanging around a few days, John says, and is the first red-bellied woodpecker they’ve had at their feeders on Madeline Island.
I’m not surprised. I often saw red-bellied woodpeckers in my Iowa years, but I haven’t yet seen one up here. “The Crossley ID Guide” to eastern birds shows the northern border of red-bellied territory as being right around the Northland.
At this point, you might be asking: Red-bellied? Huh?
It’s something I’ve always questioned, and I was glad to see this in Crossley: “Poorly named after barely noticeable red on belly.”
I’ll say. It couldn’t have been called red-headed woodpecker, because that name is taken by a woodpecker with a much redder, fuller head.
But “red-bellied” seems like a goofy name for a bird with an off-white belly.
I’m surprised this didn’t come up in the presidential debates.
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