Red-bellied Woodpecker, BraeBurn No. 4, January 30, 2017
BraeBurn’s golf course could be divided into a “lakes” front nine and a “woodlands” back nine not only because of the location of our lakes but also because of the birds that populate the two nines.  In general, you see lake birds on the front nine and woodlands birds on the back nine, with some overlap.  One example of a “woodlands” bird is the oddly-named Red-bellied Woodpecker.  I write “oddly” because this woodpecker is distinguished by a bright red patch on the back of its head and not by an obvious red belly – although you can see a hint of rusty-red on the belly of the individual in the photo. 
 
The Red-bellied Woodpecker, the smaller Downy Woodpecker, and the fabulous and crow-sized Pileated Woodpecker are three of the handful of woodpeckers that can be seen in the Houston area, and although the large Pileated Woodpecker is rare, it can be seen at and in the area of the Houston Arboretum.  I have only seen the Pileated Woodpecker eleven times in my life – it’s that distinctive that I can remember them all – and I hope to have my camera ready the next time I see one, hopefully at BraeBurn.
 
But the Red-bellied Woodpecker is much more common and I see it or, or more commonly hear it, during almost every round.  It has a distinctive rolling call described as a “kwirr” or “churrr”.  It’s a generally eastern US bird and it’s a year-round resident at BraeBurn.