Bird of the Day: Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)

Female downy woodpecker on tree trunk

Downy woodpeckers are the smallest woodpecker I see on a regular basis, just about the size of a sparrow. When it’s cloudy and gray like today, it can be a challenge to identify them. It fact, I first mistook the one I saw this afternoon for a sparrow or other little brown job, because it was sitting on a bare branch and I couldn’t make out its distinctive black-and-white pattern against the glare of the cloudy sky.

Bird of the Day: Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)

cedar waxwing

I love cedar waxwings. They seem so unobtrusive at first glance—heck, often you don’t even see them on first, or second, or even fifth glance because they camouflage themselves so well. But they’re subtly colorful, with pale yellow bellies and those bright yellow or orange tail tips, and some with those red spots like bangles on their wings.