Who knew that Downy Woodpeckers have eyes the color of a fine Cognac? I didn’t until I took this Downy Woodpecker close up in the Wasatch Mountains one month ago.
Downy Woodpecker close up – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
I had been photographing Yellow Warblers, Cedar Waxwings and Gray Catbirds when I heard a familiar call from a distance then saw a black and white bird fly in close to where I sat inside of a mobile blind. I hoped to get a photo of the bird I heard which I knew to be a Downy Woodpecker but what I didn’t expect was just how close the woodpecker would be when it popped into my view, it was probably less than 20 feet away and at that point I knew I couldn’t fit the whole body of the downy in my viewfinder even if I took my teleconverter off and so I opted to take close ups of the Downy’s face, head and upper body instead.
The Downy Woodpecker was only in plain view for a few seconds and I only took two photos that I liked and this is one of them. Both images showed the iris of the small woodpecker nicely and while reviewing the photos on my camera LCD I could see that they were the color of a fine Cognac.
In late June before I photographed this Downy Woodpecker the American Ornithological Society (AOS) split the woodpecker genus Picoides and the Downy Woodpecker changed from the scientific name Picoides pubescens to Dryobates pubescens which probably doesn’t mean much to most people who might be viewing this post but I thought it should be mentioned because in the world of birders it is kind of a big thing.
I do wish I would have had a little bit more time with this Downy Woodpecker but it disappeared into the bushes and I could only get obstructed views of it. I do see these small woodpeckers at home though I have found that they can be hard to photograph there because by the time I get out the door with my camera they are usually long gone.
Life is good.