Saturday, August 3, 2013

Pic of the Day

Bringing home the grub!
     During the course of photographing a Gila Woodpecker at the Gilbert Water Ranch in Arizona, I had the opportunity to see the parent birds bringing a varitey of food to their nestling.   The male was the major provider,  bring morsals on an average of four times more often than the female. 

Gila Woodpecker - Melanerpes uropygialisbringing seeds to nestlings 
     The female typically brought small spiders and what appeared to be seeds.  The male  brought a variety of different foods to the nest on a regular basis.  Like the female, the male brought the seed like food, but the male 
also brought larger spiders and other insects

Gila Woodpecker - Melanerpes uropygialisbringing a spider to nestlings

     The male also brought large gurbs.  Usually every third or fourth trip included a large grub.  But the diet of the Gila woodpecker is not just seeds and insects.  
Gila Woodpecker - Melanerpes uropygialis, with grub 

     As the fruit of the Saguaro began to ripen the saguaro jelly became a staple as well.  I happen to hit the desert as the fruit was beginning to ripen.  Many birds were feeding on the saguaro fruit, and this Gila was certainly making a mess of it, bringing its beak filled to the brim with the jelly like fruit.

Gila Woodpecker - Melanerpes uropygialisbringing saguaro fruit  to nestlings.
Note:  Also see post for July 2, 2013

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, on tripod

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