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This photo was taken the same morning as the one of my studio with the hoar-frost. The birch trees were really beautiful. Many of the birds that we feed become less shy over the winter when their food sources are limited. We have three species of woodpeckers that visit our feeders all the time: Hairy, Downy and Red-bellied.
This Downy patiently waited for me to take his picture and then hopped down to the suet feeder for breakfast. The past two winters we have also had a juvenile Red-headed woodpecker visit our yard. Red-headeds have been in decline over the last couple of decades mostly due to habitat loss. They’re also the only woodpecker to eat on the fly – that is they catch their prey and eat it immediately. This makes them especially vulnerable to cars because many of the trees they like to use are found along rural roads at the edges of farm fields. One place Red-headed woodpeckers seem to be thriving is at the Necedah Wildlife Refuge about 1 1/2 hours from Sauk City. Hopefully they’ll continue to do well and their range will expand. The two juveniles that came to see us are a good sign.

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