When you see your first Red-headed Woodpecker

Here I am, looking for a bird.

Something moving out there on the dead tree.

Yes!

My first Red-headed Woodpecker!

The gorgeous Red-headed Woodpecker is so boldly patterned it’s been called a “flying checkerboard,” with an entirely crimson head, a snow-white body, and half white, half inky black wings. These birds don’t act quite like most other woodpeckers: they’re adept at catching insects in the air, and they eat lots of acorns and beech nuts, often hiding away extra food in tree crevices for later. This magnificent species has declined severely in the past half-century because of habitat loss and changes to its food supply.https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-headed_Woodpecker/overview

So many Red-bellied Woodpeckers everywhere and so few Red-headed Woodpeckers.

The Red-headed Woodpecker is one of only four North American woodpeckers known to store food, and it is the only one known to cover the stored food with wood or bark. It hides insects and seeds in cracks in wood, under bark, in fenceposts, and under roof shingles. Grasshoppers are regularly stored alive, but wedged into crevices so tightly that they cannot escape.https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-headed_Woodpecker/overview

A bird worth getting to know.

I found this bird by checking eBird to see where the species had been seen lately. I had the good luck to have gone birding with a local birder who had posted a recent checklist that included a Red-headed. I emailed him to ask for guidance and got a great description of what I might see along Fox Brown Road in the Allapattah Flats, including the general location of beautiful bird. What luck!

I was recently reviewing the Martin County, Florida eBird Illustrated Checklist to see what species I haven’t yet seen around here. Is this a new chapter for me?.. actually going out looking for a specific bird rather than just wandering around with my camera? Well, I’m sure I’ll still do plenty of wandering.

Red-headed Woodpecker is blog bird #221.

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