Posts Tagged ‘threatened’

Got about 100 photos yesterday in a location along the Little Buffalo River. They are a NEAR-THREATENED species with numbers declining every year due to loss of habitat. Redheaded Woodpeckers live in pine savannahs and other open forests with clear understories. Open pine plantations, treerows in agricultural areas, and standing timber in beaver swamps and other wetlands all attract Red-headed Woodpeckers.



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For a scarce bird across its’ range; I have seen dozens here, near Parthenon, AR.

Rangewide, Red-headed Woodpeckers have declined on average by 2.7 percent per year from 1966–2010, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey—suggesting a cumulative drop of some 70 percent over the whole period. The most severe losses have been in Florida and the Great Lakes, with only scattered areas of modest increase evident in parts of Alabama, Georgia, the Northeast, and the Midwest. Red-headed Woodpeckers were common to abundant in the nineteenth century, probably because the continent had more mature forests with nut crops and dead trees. They were so common that orchard owners and farmers used to pay a bounty for them, and in 1840 Audubon reported that 100 were shot from a single cherry tree in one day. In the early 1900s, Red-headed Woodpeckers followed crops of beech nuts in northern beech forests that are much less extensive today. At the same time, the great chestnut blight killed virtually all American chestnut trees and removed another abundant food source.

Red-headed Woodpeckers may now be more attuned to acorn abundance than to beech nuts. Though the species was common in towns and cities a century ago, it began declining in urban areas as people started felling dead trees and trimming branches. After the loss of nut-producing trees, perhaps the biggest factor limiting Red-headed Woodpeckers is the availability of dead trees in their open-forest habitats. Management programs that create and maintain snags and dead branches may help Red-headed Woodpeckers. Although they readily excavate nests in utility poles, a study found that eggs did not hatch and young did not fledge when the birds nested in newer poles (3–4 years old), possibly because of the creosote used to preserve them. In the middle twentieth century Red-headed Woodpeckers were quite commonly hit by cars as the birds foraged for aerial insects along roadsides.


Near Threatened


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