Birds of the Week # 43
The Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) is a species of woodpecker, the smallest in North America. Despite their close resemblance, the downy and hairy woodpeckers are not very closely related; the outward similarity is an example of convergent evolution. Why they evolved this way cannot be explained with confidence; it may be relevant that the species exploit rather different-sized foodstuffs and do not compete very much ecologically. The downy woodpecker is virtually identical in plumage pattern to the larger hairy woodpecker, but it can be distinguished from the hairy by the presence of black spots on its white tail feathers and the length of its bill. The downy woodpecker’s bill is shorter than its head, whereas the hairy woodpecker’s bill is approximately equal to head length.
The Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) is a passerine bird of the family Icteridae found in most of North America and much of Central America. The red-winged blackbird is territorial, polygynous, gregarious and a short-distance migratory bird. Its way of flying is characteristic, with rapid wing flaps punctuated by brief periods of gliding flight. The behavior of males makes their presence easily perceived: they perch in high places such as trees, bushes, fences, telephone lines, etc. Females tend to stay low, prowling through the vegetation and building their nests. They can be found in home gardens, particularly during their migration, if seeds have been scattered on the ground. The forest curtains serve as a resting place during the day.
© HJ Ruiz – Avian101