Friday, June 12, 2009

Red-headed Woodpecker

Tomorrow we are planning to drive to Wisconsin to visit the Necedah NWR. Necedah is located pretty close to half way between the Twin Cities, where I live, and Milwaukee, Wi. The trip is about 175 miles for us so it usually takes between 2 to 3 hours.
I usually try and visit Necedah at least a couple of times each year. The main three reasons for the trips to Necedah are a possible whooping crane sighting, the endangered Karner blue butterflies and the red-headed woodpeckers, which are not as common around home.
I took these two red-head pics last fall when I was there in October. Necedah has a lot of good habitat for red-headed wood peckers because of all of the available dead wood in the park. Red-heads use cavities in dead trees and branches, preferably ones with very little bark remaining on them. They also use cracks and crevices in the dead wood to cache food. Although there are other wood peckers that cache food the red-head is the only one known to sometimes cover the cache up with bark or wood. Food that the woodpeckers will regularly eat or cache includes seeds, nuts, berries, fruit, insects, eggs and nestlings. They often cache the insects live, which they catch in the air much like a flycatcher, by wedging it into a crack so tight that it can not escape.

Hopefully we will see some red-headed woodpeckers tomorrow, assuming that the weather cooperates, as well as the endangered species that hang out in Necedah.


Chris said...

This is a very gorgeous bird, the red is so intense on its head... BEautiful shots...

Kerri said...

I have NEVER seen one of these before! What a stunning bird!! And you captured him BEAUTIFULLY!