|It was a beautiful morning to take a walk in the fresh snow that fell overnight. It was crisp and quite in the woods until Mr. Redhead started searching for some breakfast in the bark of a tree.|
|Winter February 5 2015|
|What a beautiful Woodpecker…I was able to watch him for 2-3 minutes before the dogs took notice and scared him away…I believe he is happy here, I’m sure to see him again.|
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.
- Red-headed Woodpeckers are fierce defenders of their territory. They may remove the eggs of other species from nests and nest boxes, destroy other birds’ nests, and even enter duck nest boxes and puncture the duck eggs.
- The Red-headed Woodpecker benefited from the chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease outbreaks of the twentieth century. Though these diseases devastated trees they provided many nest sites and foraging opportunities for the woodpeckers.
- The striking Red-headed Woodpecker has earned a place in human culture. Cherokee Indians used the species as a war symbol, and it makes an appearance in Longfellow’s epic poem The Song of Hiawatha, telling how a grateful Hiawatha gave the bird its red head in thanks for its service.
- The Red-headed Woodpecker has many nicknames, including half-a-shirt, shirt-tail bird, jellycoat, flag bird, and the flying checker-board.
- Pleistocene-age fossils of Red-headed Woodpeckers—up to 2 million years old—have been unearthed in Florida, Virginia, and Illinois.
- The Red-headed Woodpecker was the “spark bird” (the bird that starts a person’s interest in birds) of legendary ornithologist Alexander Wilson in the 1700s.
- The oldest Red-headed Woodpecker on record was banded in 1926 in Michigan and lived to be at least 9 years, 11 months old.