eBird maps show Red-headed Woodpecker movements

Red-headed Woodpecker

red-headed woodpeckerRed-headed woodpecker. Photo by Andy Reago and Chrissy McClarren [CC BY 2.0]In On the Move, our regular migration column, we feature pairs of range maps from eBird that you can use to compare where interesting birds are at different times of the year. We featured the Red-headed Woodpecker, pictured above, in our July/August 2019 issue.

Red-headed Woodpecker eBird mapseBird maps show where Red-headed Woodpeckers are found in August (left) and January.

The Red-headed Woodpecker, one of North America’s most distinctive breeding birds, does not follow a regular migratory pattern, but rather moves in response to the availability of beechnuts, pecans, acorns and other hard masts. The maps above show where eBird users have reported the species in summer and winter over the past decade. By August, the species is found throughout most of the eastern United States and parts of southern Canada. The western limit of its breeding range is in eastern Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. Its preferred breeding habitat is a wooded area with openings, as well as dead limbs or snags, where they nest in cavities. In January, the species retreated from the northern part of its breeding range to parts of the Midwest and Southeast, where it occurs year-round. Listen for the species’ characteristic call, a harsh call queerrepeated by males during the breeding season.

See eBird’s real-time distribution map for the Red-headed Woodpecker.

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A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the July/August 2019 issue of BirdWatching.