I took a lunch break while trekking through the park the other day. I thought it would be fun to sit next to the pond and see whatever there was to see while I ate my granola bars. I wasn’t the only one with that idea – I shared my lunch break with this female Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus). She had her eye on something else to eat though…
I can’s say for sure, but I believe this is the fruit of an Eastern Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) tree. The way the fruit is attached right to the stem, the color, time of year, location – all about right.
The “calyx” is the stiff, leathery, four-lobed thing between the fruit and the stem. Its presence is another characteristic for the Eastern Persimmon, though I couldn’t see it unless the fruit was gone or partially eaten.
This picture shows the reddish tinge on the belly, which is why this bird is called a Red-bellied Woodpecker.
Finally, the reason I know that this bird is female, is because the red feathers on the nape of her neck stop at the crown. Males have red feathers that reach all the way to the bill.
As an amateur naturalist, I always appreciate learning new things about plants and animals. I subscribe to the belief that the more people know and understand nature, the more they will care about protecting it. If one child or one average Joe or Jane feels even a little closer to nature after learning the tidbits in this post, then everyone wins.