Sunday, May 17, 2009

Red-headed Woodpecker

This is the only eastern woodpecker with an entirely red head. Beautiful. We had a pair at our feeder for a few days. They are relatively rare around here. We have red-bellied, hariy and an occasional pileated as well. The crow-sized pileated are not seen at our feeder but rather ripping large holes in rotting trees as they dig for ants.

The woodpeckers depend on the life cycle of the forest. The trees succumb to insect, fungus and other predatory life forms. Some are just touched up and used; others lose the battle and begin to return the carbon and minerals to the forest floor. The woodpeckers thrive on the middle stage when insects and their larvae inhabit the dying or dead wood.