Monday, August 08, 2005

The Return of the loud Redheads

"Although the red-headed woodpecker uses other habitat types, oak savanna is one of the most important. Oak savanna once occupied approximately 5.5 million acres in Wisconsin. Only about 500 acres -- less than 1/10th of a percent of the original, pre-settlement quality savanna remain. This loss and altered habitat is directly linked with the red-headed woodpecker’s population decline. Mueller studied the loss of habitat using a GIS (Geographic Information System) and data from annual Breeding Bird Surveys. He found a relationship between loss of open oak woodland and savanna and red-headed woodpecker population losses along bird survey routes in eight regions of Wisconsin."

Link: Full article by Richard King and William Mueller

Link: All about the Red-headed Woodpecker from Cornell Labs

I was at Wyalusing State Park when I saw this Red-headed Woodpecker (above image) catch and consume a moth. Regrettably, this was in my early digiscoping days and a few seconds after this shot was taken my battery died and I had no backup with me! Oh, the humility. Years ago, Red-headed Woodpeckers were somewhat common in Pheasant Branch Conservancy in Middleton, but the last nesting pair I’ve seen there was three years ago. People who have lived in the area longer than I have said they saw them frequently on the Dane County property of the conservancy where the oak savanna restoration is presently taking place.

Red-headed Woodpecker image © 2005 Michael Allen McDowell

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