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Downys, Ruddys, Redheads and Mountain Chickadees

January 14, 2013
A Downy Woodpecker male

A Downy Woodpecker male

I headed out yesterday and saw some great birds.

Downy Woodpecker male - from behind!

Downy Woodpecker male – from behind!

Downy woodpeckers can be relied upon to show up when you go out for a walk. This little guy “hunkered down” along the tree branch (looking like part of the branch?) until he grew used to me. That bright red patch on the back of his head is interesting. It is probably attractive to females, provocative to male Downy’s and maybe it gives pause to predators?

Ruddy Duck female in winter

Ruddy Duck female in winter

I really like Ruddy Ducks and was happy to see this female Ruddy swimming in the cold water this Sunday. They are a small duck with a wide bill (that turns blue on the males in summer!) and a stiff tail that they can hold up in the air. They have quite a jaunty appearance.

Lots of ducks visit the open water of Kootenay Lake in winter. Redhead Ducks are not all that common in the area, and I was happy to get  some pictures of three Redheads this weekend. They dive under the water to find vegetation and the female in one of the pictures looks surprised to emerge under a Greater Scaup – who was, no doubt surprised too!

Redhead Duck male in winter

Redhead Duck male in winter

female Redhead Ducks emerges suddenly

female Redhead Ducks emerges suddenly under a Greater Scaup

Mountain Chickadee in search of the best sunflower seed.

Mountain Chickadee in search of the best sunflower seed.

And, last but not least, one of the little Mountain Chickadees at my feeder in the morning. There were quite a few birds visiting the feeder.  It was a beautiful, sunny winter day. Hard, blue and cold. My favourite kind of winter day. And it looks like another grand day today.

A cold, hard blue winter's day in the Kootenays

A cold, hard blue winter’s day in the Kootenays

I hope you enjoy the photos.

all photos and writing copyright J.A. Siderius, 2013.

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