Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker
Photo: Inge Curtis

Downies are the smallest and cutest of eight species of ‘peckers in south-east Virginia. Inge captured this picture of a male downy at a food bank. It hammered suet, nuts and seeds into a cavity of a bough. We don’t expect different species to be deliberately cooperative, but so it seemed. Like visitors at a community bank, a Red-breasted Nuthatch and Tufted Titmouse also deposited titbits while two other species came to check it out. All the depositors returned for withdrawals, the female downy taking more than the rest, perhaps for her nestlings. But an open safe at a bank is a temptation to bandits and along came a squirrel to steal everything.

By Roger Gosden

British-born scientist specializing in reproduction & embryology. Career as professor & research director spanned from Cambridge to Cornell's Weill Medical College in NYC. Married to Lucinda Veeck Gosden, embryologist for the first successful IVF team in America. Retired early to Williamsburg, Virginia, to write and recover from 'nature deficit disorder'. Currently a visiting scholar at William & Mary. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Gosden

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