A pocket wilderness in the heart of Houston.

West 11 Street Park


Downy Woodpecker Downy Woodpecker

This, the smallest woodpecker in North America, is found across most of the continent. Its range is from coast to coast and from the northern tree line to the Gulf and the desserts and dry grasslands just north of the Mexican border. The female differs from the male only that it lacks the red occipital patch. Both sexes drum on tree trunks or dead limbs to advertise their presence and proclaim their territorial rights. Their agility comes from their small size and allows to feed on smaller branches and farther out on their tips than other woodpeckers.

 Pileated Woodpecker Pileated Woodpecker

These crow-sized woodpeckers drum on trees to claim territory and attract a mate; the loud heavy sound is as if the tree is being hit with a wooden mallet.  Each mating pair excavates several roosting cavities and may retire for the evening to one of them.  The male roosts in the current hollow before the eggs are laid and afterwards incubates them there at night.  The male has a scarlet mustache while the female's is black.  In flight, both show a large white patch at the base of their primary wings feathers as well as white underwing linings. They eat ants, beetles and a variety of other insects, especially tree-boring ones, acorns, beechnuts, seeds of tree cones, nuts and various fruits.

 Red-bellied Woodpecker Red-bellied Woodpecker

This noisy common woodpecker has adapted to different habitats from southern pine forests to northern hardwoods, scattered trees and urban parks.  Their upper parts have black and white barring in a zebra pattern.  The "red-belly" comes from a reddish wash low on the belly and between the legs that is difficult to see in the field.  In flight, it shows a white rump, white patches at the base of their primary wings and white-barred central tail feathers.  The male has a red crown and nape.  The female differs in that her crown is gray.  They nest and roost nightly in tree cavities.  Their wide variety of fare includes insects, seeds and sap from sapsucker drill wells.

Great Horned Owl Great Horned Owl

The most widespread owl in North America, and perhaps the most powerful, this owl often attacks animals much larger and heavier than itself. These include domestic cats, skunks and porcupines. Although nocturnal in behavior, it sometimes hunts during the day. Its primarily feeds on mammals but also eats birds, reptiles and amphibians. In defending its nest and young, it will strike at humans who approach too closely.