Stacey Cole's Nature Talks: Orange-eating bird likely a red-bellied woodpecker
With respect to feeding oranges, one of our Milton readers wrote in part: "I have a bird that came here this summer. Put the oranges out for the Baltimore oriole. Well this bird that came, I cannot find in my bird book. It is a woodpecker, very pretty. The back was black and white checkered. The head was red all the way down to its back. It would clean the orange right out. Put a new one out every day. Do not see it now. It was cute to see it bring the little ones and feed them the oranges. Have you ever seen this or heard about them? Thank you."Red-headed woodpeckers are infrequently seen in New Hampshire. A mature red-headed woodpecker's head is completely covered with red to its shoulders. In recent years red-bellied woodpeckers have been increasing in numbers and, from our reader's description, I believe the bird that could not be identified was a female red-bellied woodpecker.It should be noted that the red color streak on the neck of a female begins close to the base of its bill, runs up over the head, then down its neck to its shoulder. On the other hand, the red streak on the neck of a male red-bellied woodpecker begins at the back of its head, then continues down the length of its neck.
When plowing in spring and fall the birds always labored over the fresh ground I turned up. They searched for whatever food they could find. The crows usually worked ahead of me until my equipment approached too close, then they would fly to the end of the last row to continue feeding.
Carefully examine around feeder entrances for any rough spots. Sometimes birds become scratched in such areas, resulting in a disease virus being transferred from one bird to another. File off rough places on metal feeders. Clean and disinfect feeders regularly using one part of liquid chlorine household bleach in 9 parts of tepid water (a 10 percent solution) to disinfect. Make enough solution to immerse an empty, cleaned feeder completely for two to three minutes.
Stacey Cole's address is 529 W. Swanzey Road, Swanzey, 03446.
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