The persistent pounding caught my eye.
A woodpecker appeared to be pecking for prey. Red-bellied woodpeckers have a varied diet. Cornell’s Birds of the World says their main fare consists of fruits, nuts, insects, lizards, tree frogs, and the eggs and nestlings of small birds. But a woodpecker could take those foods in a single snatch. It seemed odd that the bird was taking so long to snag his prey.
Looking at my camera’s tiny screen, I couldn’t identify the woodpecker’s quarry. The bird flew off after some two minutes of work, and I stopped filming. I didn’t give him another thought. That is, until later when I downloaded the video.
My full-screen view revealed a horrifyingly fascinating sight.
See for yourself—first, the actual-speed video.
Here’s the end of that video, played at half speed.
Did you identify the woodpecker’s prey?
This still from the video should confirm your conclusion.
The Cornell species account for the Red-bellied Woodpecker mentions small mammals as occasional prey. Even though this bird’s quarry was likely sleeping when the bird attacked, I still think his dinner choice was ambitious. A little batty, even.
Cornell has another term for what I saw. They describe this bird’s behavior as pugnacious.