Uncommon Sighting: A Purple-cockaded Woodpecker




September 29, 2022



| Purple-cockaded Woodpecker by Chuck Gehringer |

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

These small birds are recognized by a black-and-white striped again, a white cheek, and, on males, a tiny, practically 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 previous pine habitat with little or no understory was formed by the area’s frequent lightning fires. These woodpeckers can 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, Companions in Flight estimates there are as few as 19,000 people left. Study extra about Purple-cockaded Woodpeckers on the Cornell Lab’s All About Birds web site.

Gehringer informed 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 in a position to take a couple of poor pictures of it because of the wet climate that day.” Happily, the woodpecker returned, and Gehringer was in a position to get a higher photograph, which he later uploaded to FeederWatch’s Participant Photographs Gallery Gehringer has seen the woodpecker a couple of extra instances since then, even recognizing three people visiting his suet feeder in late August.

The Purple-cockaded Woodpeckers visiting Gehringer’s feeders are banded, as could be seen within the photograph. Hen banding, which entails putting a metallic band and typically colourful plastic bands round birds legs (in addition to gathering knowledge concerning the birds), may help scientists differentiate between people of a species, in addition to examine birds’ age, ranges, and extra. Hen banding within the U.S. is regulated by the US Geological Survey, and so they have a web site you should utilize 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 of inform if the identical people return, or if totally different Purple-cockaded Woodpeckers seem.

Contributors are welcome to share pictures of birds, FeederWatch depend websites,or folks watching birds by importing pictures to our Participant Photographs Gallery web page, situated below the Group tab on the Mission FeederWatch web site. 

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