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Uncommon Sighting: A Pink-cockaded Woodpecker

September 29, 2022

| Pink-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 Pink-cockaded Woodpecker at his residence 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 pink streak (“cockade”) on the higher border of the cheek. Gehringer’s identification was helped by earlier expertise with the species–he had seen Pink-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 Pink-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 This outdated pine habitat with little or no understory was formed by the area’s frequent lightning fires.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 will 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 frequent, Companions in Flight estimates there are as few as 19,000 people left. Study extra about Pink-cockaded Woodpeckers on the Cornell Lab’s All About Birds web site.

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 in a position to take just a few poor photographs of it as a result of wet climate that day.” Thankfully, the woodpecker returned, and Gehringer was in a position to get a higher photograph, which he later uploaded to FeederWatch’s Participant Pictures Gallery Gehringer has seen the woodpecker just a few extra instances since then, even recognizing three people visiting his suet feeder in late August.

The Pink-cockaded Woodpeckers visiting Gehringer’s feeders are banded, as will be seen within the photograph. Hen banding, which entails inserting a metallic band and generally colourful plastic bands round birds legs (in addition to gathering information in regards to the birds), will help scientists differentiate between people of a species, in addition to research 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 Pink-cockaded Woodpeckers seem.

Members are welcome to share photographs of birds, FeederWatch rely websites,or individuals watching birds by importing photographs to our Participant Pictures Gallery web page, situated beneath the Group tab on the Mission FeederWatch web site. 

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