Black bill, red belly

Interesting report last week from Michael McIlvain. Michael saw a black-billed magpie in the Twig area. “I could hear a raven quorking and saw it and another bird having a disagreement,” Michael writes. “I thought it was a crow until I saw some white. I looked at it through my rifle scope and saw the long tail and large white patch on the bottom half. I had seen them before in Montana but never in Minnesota.”

Red-bellied woodpeckers used to be unusual in northern Minnesota, or at least I thought they were. They seem to be popping up all over during the past few weeks.
This one, spotted in lower Michigan, perhaps isn’t quite as surprising. But the pictures are beautiful:

James A. Meier took these pictures at his peanut feeder in Brighton, Mich., which is about 20 miles north of Ann Arbor. This male red-bellied woodpecker comes to his peanut feeder almost every day, James says, but seems to be solitary. James hasn’t seen a female.
He also sees downies and hairies and is within the range of pileated woodpeckers, but has yet to see one.
“Peanuts are the favored food of all the woodpeckers, and also blue jays, titmice and nuthatches, white- and red-breasted,” James writes. “Suet is in second place. It might be preferred by the downies. Chickadees will graze on everything, peanuts, suet, and black-oil sunflowers, but the larger woodpeckers, nuthatches, and titmice are addicted to peanuts!”

And finally, in case you missed it, a link to Sam Cook’s story, and Bob King’s photos, about a golden eagle that made a visit to Hawk Ridge in Duluth on Monday is here:

Your bird pictures and stories are always welcome. Please include an approximate location. Here’s my address:

3 thoughts on “Black bill, red belly

  1. That’s a female red-belly isn’t it. The head of a male is completely red whereas the female is red only to the back of the head. I saw my first one yeaterday (in this area) at my feeder at Deer Lake just north of Grand Rapids,MN

  2. I have been enjoying your blog. I really get a kick out of the tagline. We consider ourselves amateurs in the world of birding. If the birds aren’t at our feeder or yard where we can study them, we are quite pathetic. We’re going to be assigned an area by ourselves this weekend for the CBC. YIKES!
    Yes, the photos are a female Red-bellied. Here is one of our males…

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