Saturday, December 12, 2009

Red-bellied Woodpecker's Tongue

On the day that the crowd of robins visited, a parade of other birds joined them in the dogwood tree. Among them, this Red-bellied Woodpecker male. It's always a treat when he visits the dogwood tree, and this time was no exception. He flew into the dogwood limbs, hung upside down to pluck a berry, then flew to a nearby trunk to reposition it before swallowing.

 Red-bellied Woodpecker male

 Red-bellied Woodpecker's Tongue

 Red-bellied Woodpecker's Tongue

 Red-bellied Woodpecker's Tongue 2

It was this that surprised me. He used the trunk's surface to reposition the berry, so that he then held it at the tip of his bill.With his long tongue extended, he used it in a lever-like fashion to move the berry into swallowing position.Once the berry was gone, he scooted around the tree to forage some more. But then, paused, looked back at another dogwood berry, hung upside down and stretched his tongue out to pick up something from its surface.A fun and intimate encounter. I hated to see him fly away. The good news--he's my neighbor!

 Red-bellied Woodpecker

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