I didn't recognize him immediately. After all, this was a very unusual posture for a woodpecker. We see woodpeckers in our woods every day, but they are almost always climbing up or down, or clinging to the side of the tree. This Downy Woodpecker was sitting on a limb, almost crouching, and very still. Perhaps a hawk had been seen. For whatever reason, he sat very still for a while. Then he looked at me and flew to the suet feeder.
Seeing him at the feeder made me feel rather foolish. How could I not have instantly recognized him? I see him all the time. Perhaps it was the presence of our Rose-breasted Grosbeaks with their black and white wings. And the posture in the tree certainly contributed to my temporary confusion.
We have several different woodpeckers as regular visitors. Because the Downys are the smallest, we almost always call them "Little Downy Woodpeckers" as if "little" were part of the name. We were fortunate this summer to have at least two mating pairs of Downys and were delighted to see them bring their fledglings to our suet. The little Downys often had to wait in the trees for the Pileated Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and Hairy Woodpeckers to eat their fill. The Red-bellied male consistently chased the Downys whenever he saw them. He will still occasionally chase the Downys, even though nesting is over for the season. Perhaps it just becomes a habit.
The little Downys are so accustomed to our presence, they will come to the suet even when we are sitting on the deck. They announce themselves with their "teek...teek...teet" as if they are annoyed that we are there. Then they seem to remember that we are non-threatening and fly to the feeder. They are fun to watch and we always welcome them.