Saturday, April 18, 2009

Winking Woodpeckers

This Nuttall's Woodpecker is from Morongo Valley, CA. Don't look Joan, he's eating a bug.
©2009 ShootingMyUniverse

©2009 ShootingMyUniverse

Winking Woodpeckers
These are not my best photos but I’ve captured something three times in two weeks that I’ve never seen before. These woodpeckers’ eye lids seem to close from front to back.

This is a Ladder-backed Woodpecker was photographed in Morongo Valley, California.
©2009 ShootingMyUniverse

This Nuttall's Woodpeck was photographed in Morongo Valley on the same day. It looks like he is going through a molt.

©2009 ShootingMyUniverse

Back in Massachusetts, I photographed this Downy Woodpecker. Note that her eye also seems to close from front to back.

©2009 ShootingMyUniverse

Post script: Our friend Tabib, who shoots a hell of a lot better than I do, has added a comment that explains the eye lids. Check it out by clicking the comment link below.


Kallen305 said...

Steve, you are my inspiration when it comes to bird photography, seriously!! Great pictures. I love how you got the bug and all on the first couple of pictures. Fantastic!


Great shots of this fun bird! Love the first, where you really can see he is cathing a bug!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

BRILLIANT!! Fantastic shots Steve...even if he is eating one of my bugs!! LOL!! Looks like an ant. Oh well, I guess we all have to eat. :)

Very interesting capture of the eyelids too. Not easy at all as it usually happend so fast.

An excellent post.

Richard said...

Eyelids front to back means less wind resistance.?

Tabib said...

Great catch for bird and photographer!.

Great documentation of woodpecker eye lids. According to Ornithologist woodpecker close their eyes before the beak strike to prevent their eye from bulging from sockets.

Steve B said...

Thanks Tabib, that makes a lot of sense!

Hi Richard, Looks like you are getting thawed out up there and you migration has begun.

Hi Joan, I'm glad you are not to sore at my woodpecker.

Hi Vlalkyrien, Nice tasty treat for a woodpecker, I should think. I'm so happy that it came out. The light was a little low.

Thanks Kim, All boat rise with the tide in Gloucester. I've had a great time reading your blog and watching you grow as a birder.

Ginnymo said...

Fantastic close ups!!

Chris said...

Wonderful Steve. These are great shots. I would like to have woodpeckers around, but the only time I can get them is when I go back home (to France) for my holidays.

Cheryl Ann said...

What absolutely BEAUTIFUL shots! Hubby and I will have to return and try to get some pics of the woodpeckers once I get my new camera!

Salty said...

Great shots Steve and an interesting observation about the woodpeckers eyelids.

One of the things I love about wildlife photography is how the camera captures action that the eye is incapable of seeing.

Russ said...

Cool shots! Awesome catch of the eyelids - wow!

A New England Life said...

I would also think the lid closes to protect it from wood debris when they peck? Either that or they're sleeping on the job!

Innisfree said...

Your photos are exquisite. I found a small, dead Winking Woodpecker on my property where I have geese, ducks, and chickens. I didn't know what type it was until I saw your photos. I am not sure if there is a nearby nest. I think a Hawk may have ended its young life. Your photos have opened a new world for me to explore. Thanks. Louise

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