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Redhead, the Red-headed Woodpecker

Our last Burgess Woodpecker is the Red-headed Woodpecker, a striking bird dressed in deep red, white and black.

This is a good time to ask and answer the question, why do woodpeckers drum on wood? When I was growing up I believed that the reason was limited to their search for food, insects living in the wood. But there may be a few other reasons why woodpeckers drum on trees and wood. According to The Cornell Lab:

* They could be using the loud noise to establish their territory and attract a mate.

* That is how woodpeckers nest. They carve out the wood creating a hole in the tree to build their nest.

* If it is a Red-headed woodpecker they could be storing food in the wood where they are drumming. There are only four woodpeckers who do this in North America, another well-known bird is the Acorn Woodpecker. (source)

This is one woodpecker that we have not seen in our yard, but our eyes are always open and our ears are on the ready when we go out to a trail. Behavior is a great identifier when in the field, so keep in mind that Red-headed Woodpeckers are often spotted fly catching to capture their meal. Or as Peter Rabbit found out from Redhead himself:

“You may have noticed that I go down on the ground myself once in a while. I am rather fond of beetles, and an occasional grasshopper tastes very good to me. I like a variety. Yes, sir, I certainly do like a variety – cherries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes. In fact most kinds of fruit taste good to me, not to mention beechnuts and acorns when there is no fruit.”

The Burgess Bird Book, Thornton W. Burgess, Living Press Edition, p. 55

This Red-headed Woodpecker was spotted close to where we live, at the Illinois State Beach Park!

from Stoil Ivanov

Until next time, keep birding! <3 Kate

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