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Nuttall Woodpecker female in the Redwood Tree

Yesterday morning while I was clearing English ivy from our fence I heard a gently tapping.

This happened when I was putting the cut vines and debris in a large bin next to the fence.

At first it wasn't clear to me where the sound was coming from. I thought it was the sound of twigs scratching along the side of the bin as the debris settled in there.

Indeed, it wasn't the debris.

Looking up into our neighbor's redwood tree that towers over the fence, I noticed furtive movement among the branches. There was definitely a bird up there, but it moved so quickly that it was difficult at first to figure out what kind of bird it was.

Then I could see the bird was tapping on branches with its beak.

A woodpecker!

But because it hopped quickly and quietly from branch to branch, softly pecking on them in search of insects, I had to be very patient and wait until it showed enough of itself to determine what kind of woodpecker it was. In the meantime I quickly ran into the house to grab my camera.

Above is an image of the woodpecker from behind.

What beautiful plumage!

It turned out to be a female Nuttall Woodpecker. This is the first time I've ever seen one.

This is an interesting angle, as the bird turns its body for a good aim at insects on a branch.


You can see the woodpecker's claws grasping the branch on the left.

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