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woodpecker

An Evening in Sapsucker Woods - With A.A. Allen

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology maintains the largest collection of bird sounds in the world. In 1958, Arthur Allen, the lab’s founder, described An Evening in Sapsucker Woods: “There is a charming spot in the Finger Lakes country of central New York that we know as Sapsucker Woods. Friends have... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, recording

Red-cockaded Woodpeckers - Sunrise Vigil in the Pines

Red-cockaded Woodpeckers require large, old pines in which to nest. They breed cooperatively, and a family of these birds may have several nests in one area. They may also forage together, chattering and flying from tree to tree. The destruction of their preferred habitat – mature southern... read more »

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Sapsuckers and Hummingbirds

The sapsucker is a type of woodpecker that notches rows of small holes in trees, causing sap to well out. The birds eat the sugary liquid flowing from these sapwells. Tree sap is similar in sugar content to the nectar hummingbirds take from flowers. And it is no coincidence that just as the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Drumming with Woodpeckers - East

Early spring in the East resounds with the percussive hammering of woodpeckers. Their rhythmic drumming functions as other birds' songs do, to broadcast over a long distance a clear statement of territory and mating rights. Learn about this Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and the others in this show -... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, sound

Woodpeckers as Keystone Species

Woodpeckers - including this Northern Flicker - are master carpenters of the bird world. They're called "keystone" species for their crucial role in creating habitat suited to other woodland wildlife. Abandoned woodpecker nest-holes become nests or roosts for small owls, cavity-nesting ducks,... read more »

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No Pounding Headache

The Pileated Woodpecker makes loud, hard whacks, as it leans back and then slams its bill into the side of a living tree. Sounds painful, if not downright disabling! How does the woodpecker's brain withstand it? All woodpeckers have an enlarged brain case, so the brain sits above the level of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Woodpecker Wonderland

When it comes to woodpeckers, nature has been very generous to the Northwest. Some areas, like the Okanogan region in north-central Washington, host among the highest diversities of woodpecker species anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. You may spot the diminutive Downy Woodpecker or the... read more »

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Woodpeckers Love Ants

Woodpeckers, as a group, eat far more ants than most other birds do. Many other vertebrates tend to avoid ants because of their stings or because of the noxious chemicals they contain, like formic acid. But woodpeckers just love them. A Pileated Woodpecker’s diet may be up to 50% ants! read more »

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Williamson's Sapsucker

Williamson's Sapsuckers nest in western mountain forests. The radically different plumages of the male and female so confounded 19th-century naturalists that, for nearly a decade, the birds were thought to be of different species. Sapsuckers are unique among woodpeckers in drilling neat rows of... read more »

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White-headed Woodpecker

The White-headed Woodpecker is widely scattered and nowhere common in the Pacific Northwest. Like other woodpeckers, the White-headed Woodpecker digs out juicy insect larvae from the trees by pounding with its sharp bill. But by holding its bill at an angle, the White-headed Woodpecker... read more »

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