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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Downy Woodpecker Video

Early Saturday morning at Hoe and Shovel the cloudy grey sky was threatening rain. Now in Florida it is common to receive threats of this sort without any action. The overcast sky actually provides a reprieve from the sunshine and on occasion makes gardening very pleasant .

And so it was this Saturday. My most important aim of the day was to remove some grass which was trampled and worn and replace it by laying some pieces of sod I had taken up from another part of the garden the day before. It's hard work and might I say a bit of a back-breaker so I was starting early with my very best energy.

About 3 hours later the threat turned into a wonderful downfall of the real thing. I did finish my chore of laying the grass... working in the refreshing light rain for a little bit but gladly the rain came harder accompanied by thunder and I didn't want to risk lightning. No disappointment in the change of plans for my day since we need every drop of rain so very badly.

The Downy Woodpecker is not shy in my experience and does not seem to mind my presence. Only I have a difficult time capturing a photo due to the height in which they find their acceptable pecking branches. I had been tracking this one ( I assume it is the same one) for a few days and finally had some (semi) success on Saturday.

In these photos it is high in the branches of an East Palatka Holly (Ilex x attenuata). This one (pictured above) is approximately 40' tall and is situated just beyond our house and open patio leading out to the backyard. The East Palatka Holly is a cross between American and Dahoon Hollies, discovered in 1927 near East Palatka , Florida . The leaves may have a few spines, but this handsome tree sets fruit easily. Only the female trees produce berries. This one is full of red berries throughout the winter making plenty of food for the birds.

Because the Downy is fun to watch in action I couldn't resist filming and sharing this 10 second video. You can also listen to the cardinal in the background singing her melodious tunes at the same time. I think all the birds could sense the rain was coming.


  1. As I began to read your post I thought threat of rain? Surely she also received some of the rain from yesterday. When I heard the tap on my window yesterday morning I figured you and all the other gardeners in the area were doing a little happy dance. It made for a nice morning of reading for me. ;)

  2. Aren't they just the cutest little things?! I'll have to try later to load the video. Dial-up is such a pain.

    Don't stop posting hawk pics! They're wonderful creatures!

  3. That was cool! It is pretty amazing that we were both following a downy today. :-)

  4. You sure are chummy with the critters!! I can't believe you put down sod by yourself. Yes it is backbreaking. Then you got that great rain to boot. I'll watch the video when dh is done watching his cars go round and round with the NASCAR race. I played a chirping sound yesterday while he was watching tv and aggravated him to death with it. It was ll at night and he thought the birds outside woke up.

  5. Ok, I finally got to watch it! Looks like he's one busy little guy. They don't stay still very much do they?

  6. Jane: Little happy dance for sure. We need the rain so badly and it was much appreciated. It was a wonderful reading morning too- that is if you didn't have sod to lay- and dirt to move. lol

    sophie: the Downy is so adorable with its white spots and tucked tail as it works so steadily. The hawks have been quite busy "making babies" these mornings. Hey, did you see the bug I posted a few days ago? I was hoping you might lend your expertise help with an I.D.?

    Kylee: I thought the same thing when I went to your blog! Pretty amazing.

    Anna: That's funny... chummy with the critters. I DO like to photograph them and watch them and listen to them and stare at them and photograph them and...

    You are right -Downy's are busy little fellows (although that one was a female- no red on the head)... I just love to watch them peck away - oh I said that already.

  7. It's been raining here too... the sounds of all the birds on your video is amazing - I could spend hours watching them - we have loads in our garden here - especially blue and great tits right now and they're fab for getting rid of all the greenfly on the roses! Keep having fun... Miranda


Have a blessed day,

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