|retrieving an acorn from a crevice|
|Red-headed at cavity, Downy doing fly by|
|Male Downy at nesting cavity|
The female Downy is usually the one to select the nesting site and then both male and female will excavate the cavity which usually takes a week to complete. Downies typically drill a new cavity each year. Previous year's cavities are used by chickadees, titmice, wrens and sometimes bluebirds.
The Red-headed woodpecker was once common but is a declining species. A 50% loss has been recorded across its range since 1966. A loss of potential nesting sites-cutting down of dead trees-is one possible reason. Loss of an important food source-beech trees-has also contributed to the population decline. The red-headed woodpecker is a protected bird and is listed as near threatened. The good news is that I counted 7 red-headed woodpeckers at one time at the pond.
|Two red-headed woodpeckers. It is mating season after all!|
Some fun facts about woodpeckers:
- The most common plumage colors for all woodpeckers is black, white, red and yellow.
- A woodpecker's tongue is about 4" long, depending on the species, which is used to get insects.
- Most woodpeckers have zygodactyl feet (toes facing front and toes facing back) which helps them grip trees as they climb.
- Woodpeckers do not have a vocal song, instead they drum on hollow trees and other resonant objects. They drum to attract mates, establish territories, and communicate with one another.
- No, they don't get headaches. Woodpeckers have reinforced skulls structured to spread the impact of force from pecking. Their brain is also tightly cushion and protected.
- Woodpeckers can peck 20 times per second; a total of 8,000 to 12,000 times a day.