Crow’s Nest: Red-headed woodpeckers

November 9, 2013

Birders have been visiting Crow’s Nest Preserve over the last few weeks to see red-headed woodpeckers (Melanerpes erythrocephalus). We’ve seen them here occasionally over the last few years but this fall they have been numerous and easily observable as they cache acorns in the cavities found in dead branches and trees. Both adults and juveniles (which don’t have a red head) are active here.

Photos from Jim Moffett

Birder George Tallman has been organizing observers to estimate the size of the population. He is developing a protocol for the observations so that the results are repeatable and comparable.

Natural Lands Trust Force of Nature volunteer Jim Moffett shared these photographs he took at Crow’s Nest Preserve.

Photos from Jim Moffett

Notably, on the red-headed woodpecker the whole head is red, not just a patch like you see on a downy or hairy woodpecker, flicker, or the red cap on a red-bellied woodpecker or the comb on a pileated woodpecker (all of which occur here). Sightings of red-headed woodpeckers are unusual enough in our region to warrant attention.

Photos from Jim Moffett

The red-headed woodpeckers can be seen along the Creek Trail, particularly in the area where beaver flooding killed a lot of trees several years ago. But they can also be seen along French Creek near our entrance sign on Harmonyville Road, and sometimes in the woods around our parking lot meadow—so they are an easy find.

Photos by Jim Moffett. Posted by Daniel Barringer on November 9, 2013.