Bird similar to a red-bellied woodpecker

by GaryE
(Silver Spring, MD USA)

A few days ago I saw a woodpecker/tree-clinger type of bird twice in about 60 - 90 minutes. It was on a dead part of the tree and it was actively pecking at a fairly deep hole in the branch (deep enough that its whole head was obscured). It was nearly identical in appearance to a red-bellied woodpecker (which was on the same tree at the same time about 15 feet away) but the head was much more orange than red . . . also the bird was significantly smaller it was about the same size as a nearby cardinal. So that makes it about what about 1/2 the size of a red bellied woodpecker. I was mainly looking at a the bird from the chest side of the bird and the left side. The beak was about the same size as the head. I was unable to get a good look at the back and wings but as I said it was nearly identical to a red-bellied woodpecker (which I get to see on average two or three times a week).

I could not find the bird in any of my bird identification books. My only thought was that it could be a infant/juvenile red-bellied woodpecker . . . but the last week in February seems way way to early to see a juvenile bird in the Washington DC area.

Unfortunately I do not own a digital camera which would have rendered a useful picture (It was about 30 yards away and 15 - 20 feet up) so I did not even try to get a pic.

Does anyone have any idea? My only other guess is that it is some kind of migratory species which I have never seen before.

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Mar 09, 2013
Just saw it again NEW
by: GaryE

Well I just saw it again. I did not have another red-bellied to directly compare it just looks like a smaller slightly dulled headed red-bellied woodpecker. It must just be a runt/smaller than normal bird or something but I am not convinced . . . it is just too small LOL.

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