Round Table Farm

Donkeys, Goats, Books and Chickens

Bird Knocking


Folks were very generous with their feedback when this was originally posted. I have gone through and made corrections. Thank you everyone!

This bird was knocking on my house, loudly. It was also having a very energetic conversation with this other bird (female woodpecker?). Now, until we got chickens, I didn’t really pay attention to birds, so I have a huge learning curve here. Feel free to jump in with info on what this spotted, red-headed feathered beast is. I believe this is a local New Mexico woodpecker. I don’t know if the bird in the tree is the female of the species, or another bird just cheering on the pecker for sport. Maybe the second bird wasn’t cheering at all, but rather razzing the pecker’s ability to penetrate the edge of the roof. Looking on El Internet, I think it might be a red-naped sapsucker. (Edit: Most likely a Flicker, which is a much cooler name).


sapsucker female?

We’ve also got robins – which occasionally fly in and perch themselves in the living room. This drives the dogs nuts. This particular bird was on the ceiling fan, far outside of reach of our industriously jumping dogs. (Edit: these are swallows).

Swallo on my ceiling fan.

Swallow on my ceiling fan.

Ring-necked doves, and white wedding doves, and their resultant cross-breeds are easy for me to identify. They are also the bird most often caught and devoured by my outdoor cats. They tend to eat the left over chicken feed and are rather plump here.


Ring-necked dove of the wild.

This is a little black bird with red at the shoulder of each wing. They are prolific down at the pond and can be quite noisy. I don’t know what they are called. (Edit: Red-winged Blackbird).


Red-winged black bird – Likes to hang out at our pond.

I recognize hummingbirds, but don’t know much about individual species. I believe the red here is a male Rufous. I am not sure about the green-backed ones.

Rufous humming bird from 2011 - rather aggressive. We set up some other feeders, further apart, so he could not patrol all of them at the same time.

Rufous humming bird from 2011 – rather aggressive. We set up some other feeders, further apart, so he could not patrol all of them at the same time.

As true with most of the animal kingdom, the larger the bird, the easier for me to identify it. The Great Blue Herons of the valley like to go fishing at our pond. Our new waterfowl respect those long sharp beaks and keep their distance. These large birds also like to perch atop the largest cottonwoods. Sometimes they pick poorly, and go flopping around in the tree until they find a branch that can support their weight.


Heron last winter at top of 200 foot cottonwood tree.

Great Horned Owls also have a colony in the area. I believe it is across the river, up the mountain side in some natural caves. This guy was caught eating our neighbor’s white doves 2 years ago. He held it over night and then released it in the morning after I got some photos. You can tell by the size that this is a young one. The first time I ever saw a Great Horned Owl, I was on a small tour of the Very Large Array in southern New Mexico. There is nothing like staring a 3.5 foot predatory bird in the eye and wondering if you are on the ‘Potential Next Meal’ list. OK, Everyone, STAY with the group!


Great Horned Owl caught eating doves and released the next morning.


Neighbor’s white wedding doves are well fed.

Shiny green-backed humming bird.

Shiny green-backed humming bird.


  1. We’ve got woodpeckers in Michigan, and I always thought the pecking bird that I’m always seeing in the tree outside my window was a woodpecker, but nope, it’s a Flicker. and boy does it like to peck at everything!!

    your horned owls are beautiful!! ok, I know they aren’t yours, but the photo is, and I love owls!

    • I love those owls too, even if they occasionally get a baby chicken.

  2. Sarah Bergstrom

    The unidentified black bird with red shoulders is probably a red-winged blackbird.

    • Hooray! I’ll be editing this post with all the feedback I’ve gotten on bird identification.

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