Uncommon Sighting: A Purple-cockaded Woodpecker

September 29, 2022

| Purple-cockaded Woodpecker by Chuck Gehringer |

It’s not usually that FeederWatch contributors report endangered species of their yard. This previous August, long-time FeederWatcher Chuck Gehringer noticed a Purple-cockaded Woodpecker at his dwelling in Pinehurst, North Carolina. 

These small birds are recognized by a black-and-white striped again, a white cheek, and, on males, a tiny, almost invisible crimson streak (“cockade”) on the higher border of the cheek. Gehringer’s identification was helped by earlier expertise with the species–he had seen Purple-cockaded Woodpeckers at Fred C. Babcock/Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Administration space in Florida and at Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Protect in North Carolina. 

The Purple-cockaded Woodpecker is a habitat specialist of the Southeast’s once-vast longleaf pine stands. This outdated pine habitat with little or no understory was formed by the area’s frequent lightning fires. These woodpeckers may even inhabit stands of loblolly, slash, and different pine species. The species declined drastically as logging destroyed its most popular habitat. Whereas as soon as widespread, Partners in Flight estimates there are as few as 19,000 people left. Learn more about Red-cockaded Woodpeckers on the Cornell Lab’s All About Birds website.

Gehringer instructed us that he heard the woodpecker earlier than he noticed it, saying, “I heard it pecking on a tree in entrance of me. It then flew to a close-by pine tree and continued pecking. I used to be capable of take a couple of poor images of it because of the wet climate that day.” Happily, the woodpecker returned, and Gehringer was capable of get a better photo, which he later uploaded to FeederWatch’s Participant Photos Gallery Gehringer has seen the woodpecker a couple of extra occasions since then, even recognizing three people visiting his suet feeder in late August.

The Purple-cockaded Woodpeckers visiting Gehringer’s feeders are banded, as might be seen within the photograph. Chook banding, which includes putting a metallic band and typically colourful plastic bands round birds legs (in addition to gathering knowledge in regards to the birds), might help scientists differentiate between people of a species, in addition to examine birds’ age, ranges, and extra. Chook banding within the U.S. is regulated by the US Geological Survey, they usually have a website you can use to report banded birds. It stays to be seen whether or not these non-migratory woodpeckers will stick round in Gehringer’s yard for the upcoming 2022-23 FeederWatch season, however due to the bands, Gehringer ought to be capable to inform if the identical people return, or if completely different Purple-cockaded Woodpeckers seem.

Members are welcome to share images of birds, FeederWatch rely websites,or folks watching birds by importing images to our Participant Photos Gallery page, situated beneath the Neighborhood tab on the Undertaking FeederWatch web site. 

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