Red-headed Woodpecker

Hey guys, welcome back! Today’s plucky woodpecker is none other than the red-headed woodpecker. A lot of woodpeckers have red on their heads somewhere, but this guy has an entirely red head! The rest of the body is comprised of large blocks of black and white. Unlike some species of woodpeckers, the red-headed is not sexually dimorphic, so if you see a red-headed woodpecker with a dark gray head, it’s not a female but rather a juvenile bird!

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Red-headed woodpecker, Forest Park, St. Louis, MO

The red-headed woodpecker eats a variety of things from fruits to nuts and seeds, to insects and is one of only a few woodpeckers to cache their food, hiding it in tree crevices, fence posts and even roof shingles! I remember the first one I had ever seen. It was at the time one of only 2 woodpeckers found in the eastern US that I had not seen. I was at the Mentor Headlands Dunes Nature Preserve and heard what I thought was a red-bellied woodpecker calling. But it didn’t quite sound right. The tone was off. I looked around and there he was! Turns out they like that sort of habitat too. Open areas often near swampy places. The first one I saw in New York was a juvenile bird in Central Park. And the red-headed woodpecker was one of the first birds I ever saw after moving to St. Louis. Their large patches of high contrasting color are one of the reasons I’d probably say they are my favorite woodpecker species!

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A pair of red-headed woodpeckers, Forest Park, St. Louis, MO

With that, it’s time to wrap up for now. 2019 is coming to an end. I want to thank you all for your support.This has been a transitional year for me, sometimes extremely difficult, and at times simply amazing. This blog has been hugely therapeutic for me and I’m glad that there’s people out there that enjoy it as well. At the time of this writing we are almost halfway through my life list. But I’m still adding birds and with 2020, I’m taking myself to the west coast for some birding and am looking forward to sharing all the birds I see out there. Happy New Year to all of you out there, and remember that even if you had a rough year, things can always get better, even if they have to get worse for a bit first.

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