Old Friend, New Habits

by Cori
(Somerset Co, NJ)

I've been a bird feeder for many years and always considered the appearance of a Red Bellied Woodpeckers a special occasion.

Lately I've been excited to hear and see them around a lot more than usual and started to examine their activities more closely. What I discovered is that they are stashing food in the crevices of my vinyl siding.

Today I happened to catch a glimpse of one with something in its beak go from a large tree to the siding. I was curious about what it hid because it looked like a whole corn kernel and I had been under the impression that woodpeckers weren't fans of corn in any form. I have one bird feeder on the other side of the house with whole dried kernels I removed from the cobs sold for squirrel feeders.

I did a bit of reading online and discovered that Red Bellied Woodpeckers do, indeed, like whole corn. So I learned something new about my old friends!

As a bonus, I went to look out the window at the feeder and happened to catch sight of a female downy take a kernel and stash it in the bark of a nearby tree, so it's not just the Red Bellied Woodpeckers who think corn is a fine thing to stash for winter.

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