I buy a large bag of wild bird seed from a local feed store,so I have plenty to scatter in the grass or place in a small feeder. The small feeder allows the smaller birds less competition from the doves and grackles, that can't perch on the edge.
During the last few months, I've watched a variety of birds. Most notable were the indigo buntings, a pair of rose breasted grosbeaks, night herons that hunted crayfish after heavy rains, and my favorite: red-belly woodpeckers.
A new bird arrived, made a threatening advance toward a crackle moving toward its prize, grabbed the piece of bread, and flew away. It was a woodpecker, but I had no idea what type.
After a little research, I found it was male red-bellied woodpecker. I wanted it to return, so I started placing bread in the evening. I was rewarded with its visit, and it would always grab one piece of bread and fly away.
Over the last two weeks, the woodpecker would return more than once. It never stopped to perch and eat, so I determined it was either shy, or feeding a mate, with fledglings.
Yesterday, I noticed the woodpecker fly to a pecan tree, and stuff the bread in a hollow depression on the top of a limb. I'd read it was common for woodpeckers to store food, so it didn't surprise me, but I was curious about the new behavior, until this morning.
Right before the sun rose, I placed some bread in the yard, and sat to watch the morning. A few blue jays came for some bread and soon the woodpecker landed, grabbed a piece, and flew to the spot on the tree where it was storing bread. It soon flew away, but I heard the call of a woodpecker within a few minutes. Glancing up, I saw a female woodpecker at the spot in the tree. I was thrilled, since I'd only seen the male, but was soon rewarded with another sight.
Two fledglings landed near the mother, that placed pieces of bread in the their mouths. After they ate what was there, she moved along the limbs, with the babies in tow, and pecked for bugs. She was teaching and feeding her young.
So, now I have a family of woodpeckers to watch. They give me peace at a time when there seems to be too much turmoil in the world. I consider it a blessing and treasure the moments.