Watch for birds in your dogwoods

I was in for a treat today. Actually it started about two days ago when I noticed a flash of red in my dogwood tree. I watched closely expecting to see a bright red cardinal, when in the same spot I briefly saw gray and white and thought I had seen a mockingbird. But it didn’t seem right to have seen the two different birds in the same spot so close together. As I continued to watch the mystery resolved itself. What I had seen was brief glimpses of parts of a much larger bird, the Pileated Woodpecker. It was eating the red berries on the dogwood tree.

Today I again noticed a large bird in the dogwood tree, though I couldn’t get a good look. So I retrieved my binoculars and began searching for the bird and found it. This time it was a Northern Flicker. I had commented to my husband only yesterday how we never saw flickers in our yard, only the Red-bellied Woodpecker which I used to mistake for a flicker.  Then I began to notice robins which don’t come to our feeders. All of the birds were after the red berries. I then discovered a female Baltimore Oriole eating the berries as well as the Red-bellied Woodpeckers. All within about five minutes I saw a wide assortment of birds, three of which I had never seen at our bird feeders.

But then, alas, the berries were all gone and the show was over. I went out in the rain to look closer, and sure enough, they had cleaned the branches of all red berries, though there were several lying on the ground under the tree. When the rain stops I may pick them up and put them in our feeders. I hung a suet basket near the dogwood hoping to attract some of the birds to it, especially the coveted orioles. I’ll be watching to see if the birds find it. We haven’t used that feeder for some time.