Downy Woodpeckers

Downy Woodpecker
Photo: Inge Curtis

“… suddenly there came a tapping,

As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—

Only this and nothing more.”

The return of two Downies to our backyard reminded me of this poem, not remotely like Ravens! Of all their tribe, they tap the quietest and are most trusting of humans (or oblivious of us).

By Roger Gosden

A British and American scientist specializing in reproduction & embryology whose career spanned from Cambridge to Cornell's Weill Medical College in NYC. He married Lucinda Veeck, the embryologist for the first successful IVF team in America. They retired to Virginia, where he became a master naturalist and writer affiliated with William & Mary.


  1. Gorgeous birds! I miss woodpeckers – we had some visit when we lived our final year in the UK on a farm in the Cotswolds. There are no woodpeckers in Australia, nor any birds with similar behaviour that I’m aware of.

    1. You are bereft without woodpeckers. Perhaps they don’t like gum trees. We have 7 species in this district. The largest is crow-sized but alas the Ivoy-billed Woodpecker is extinct despite rare sightings from birders intoxicated with hope (or something else).

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