Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge Red-headed Woodpecker

By | May 12, 2017

I spotted this Red-headed Woodpecker just as I was leaving the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma a few days ago. I don’t see many of these birds while I’m out and about. The ones I do see have been at this same refuge. Most of the time I will only get a glimpse of one. I was lucky I had my camera in my lap and I was able to get a few photos before it flew away. The light was harsh, but I was still happy to get this photo.

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker (Oklahoma) – Canon 7D2 | Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L v2 Lens | @400mm | 1/2500 | f/7.1 | ISO 640

I went back through my photos and found only one other Red-headed Woodpecker photo that I had taken (Red-headed Woodpecker On A Fence Post). This photo was made back in June of 2009 here in Arkansas.

Red-headed Woodpecker Facts

  • These birds fly to catch insects in the air or on the ground, forage on trees or gather and store nuts.
  • They are omnivorous, eating insects, seeds, fruits, berries, nuts, and occasionally even the eggs of other birds.
  • About two-thirds of their diet is made up of plants.
  • 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.
  • This woodpecker is a once common but declining bird species found in southern Canada and east-central United States.
  • Consistent long-term population declines have resulted in red-headed woodpecker’s threatened status in Canada and several states in the US.
  • Red-headed Woodpeckers are fierce defenders of their territory.
  • The oldest Red-headed Woodpecker on record was banded in 1926 in Michigan and lived to be at least 9 years, 11 months old.

Here are a couple of links where you can read more about these birds: Wikipedia and Cornell

4 thoughts on “Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge Red-headed Woodpecker

  1. Gordon

    That is a lovely shot Steve, and a really interesting write up. its a pitty they are in decline, I wonder why this should be.
    All the best Gordon.

    1. Steve Creek Post author

      Thank you Gordon! I read it is because of the loss of overall habitat and, within habitats, standing dead wood required for nest sites, limitations of food supply, and possible nest-site competition with other cavity nesters such as European starlings or red-bellied woodpeckers. Unfortunately few of these factors have been substantiated.

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