Montana Outdoors

July 26, 2007

Mullein and knotheads

Filed under: Birds, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Wildflowers — montucky @ 7:26 pm

This late in the summer there are not many new flowers blooming around here but this plant has just begun. The plant itself is ugly but the blossom is pretty (at least I think it is) and people for many centuries have used it for all kinds of medicinal purposes.



This little lady finds the Mullein useful however. She’s a Hairy Woodpecker and is getting lots of insects and I don’t know what else out of the stalk.

Hairy Woodpecker, female

While on that subject, here are a couple males of the species, I think a father and son.

Hairy Woodpeckers


  1. funny little guys! I’ve not seen either this plant or this type woodpecker.


    Comment by silken — July 26, 2007 @ 9:27 pm

  2. I don’t know what the range of the Mullein is, but it’s very common here. The stalks can get to be 8 ft tall, and the leaves are very fuzzy. They’re unfriendly to anyone with allergies.

    This woodpecker can be found just about anywhere in the U.S. I believe, but I’d guess only in rural areas. It is a very close relative to the Downy. The only way I know to tell them apart is that the Downy’s beak is shorter. Pretty birds though.


    Comment by montucky — July 26, 2007 @ 9:33 pm

  3. Pretty blooms…and nice peckers…

    There’s a compliment I never thought I’d type.


    Comment by Pinhole — July 27, 2007 @ 7:11 am

  4. Love the woodpecker shots! You’re right that the Hairy Woodpecker exists in pretty much all of the US, and isn’t a particularly urban bird. Its close relative, the Downy Woodpecker, however, is common seen here in San Francisco.

    Wooly Mullein grows (abundantly) in the low and mid elevations of the Sierra Nevada as well. I think it’s pretty, however 🙂


    Comment by Adam R. Paul — July 27, 2007 @ 9:29 am

  5. Pinhole,
    Me either.


    Comment by montucky — July 27, 2007 @ 10:45 am

  6. Adam,
    Until recently I wasn’t even aware of the Hairy Woodpecker: I had just thought they were all Downeys. The little guys are very difficult to photograph because they’re always so active.


    Comment by montucky — July 27, 2007 @ 10:50 am

  7. All I have to say is ” I want no part of this conversation Terry, you have no idea what I almost just wrote” these comments were setting me up for something I would have probably regretted writing.

    Anyway these are very nice, especially the downy woodpeckers, we have a few that come to our feeders in our backyard. Well done and have a great day.


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — July 27, 2007 @ 12:29 pm

  8. We see them at our feeder once in awhile, but these guys were in the woods. The two males stopped on the old stump of a pine right after they chased a chipmunk and were only there a couple of seconds.


    Comment by montucky — July 27, 2007 @ 1:06 pm

  9. I usually find photographing woodpeckers the hardest bird of all – only because they are very very shy. I’ll look for the blooms on the mullein now that you’ve tossed them up. We get them here and the kids have “sword” fights with the tall stalks. These are beautiful little guys!


    Comment by aullori — July 27, 2007 @ 3:40 pm

  10. aullori,
    Your comment brought back an old, old memory from when I was a kid and used them as swords too.


    Comment by montucky — July 27, 2007 @ 3:46 pm

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