Ottawa Bird #246 – Three-Toed Woodpecker

Since early December, there has been a Three-toed Woodpecker, 20 minutes from my door but I needed this bird for my Ottawa List. I hadn’t had any luck seeing this bird other than possible flybys.

I had been to the spot five times and had seen the other common winter birds including 3 species of woodpecker.

Today I decided to get there early, leaving home after morning traffic and a stop at Tim’s, I arrived at 8:30am. The tree lot that looked the most worked over had activity everywhere. When you are hearing challenged( 25 years in mechanical rooms will do that to you) this makes for a tough morning. There was tapping everywhere, didn’t help that the house had a feeder out front.

Light Tapping – Chickadees breaking seeds


Medium Tapping – Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers


April708 (9)B




Heavy-weight Tapping – Pileated Woodpecker


A big surprise were the 8 plus Robins working the lone Buckthorn bush in front of where we sere standing.


To add to the confusion there were also White-breasted Nuthatches and Goldfinches flying around.



I was sipping my coffee and watching when I saw my good friend Bill’s BMW come around the corner to my spot. Now Bill has been very lucky for me he just seems to bring in the birds (but just doesn’t know what they are…..lolol). I have given Bill many a nickname of the years, Machine Gun Reid, Boreal Bill, etc., but he does bring me luck.

Today was no exception, he had no sooner set up his camera, that I spotted two woodpecker sized birds fly over my head into a tree, I though, its the same two Hairy’s chasing each other. I thought one of them had a hint of yellow, I Lifted my binoculars, Ottawa Bird #246 – American Three-toed Woodpecker was in the books.

American Three-toed Woodpecker



I had photographed a female in Algonquin in winter of 2007 at the small bridge on the Spruce Bog Boardwalk.

J (124)FB


The Three-toed and Black-backed closely resemble each other below I’ve included a photo of a Black-backed Woodpecker for comparison. Can You see the difference?


I think that I was lucky to see this bird today, the weather on the weekend looks horrid. Snow, freezing rain, rain and deep cold, looks like were going to pay for December..

Ciao for now.

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1 Response to Ottawa Bird #246 – Three-Toed Woodpecker

  1. Chris Traynor says:

    I really enjoy perusing your blog. I think this last photo of the Black-backed Woodpecker is the best shot of this species I’ve seen. It’s looking right at you. Just great.

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