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Red-bellied Woodpecker

Posted on Nov 20, 2015

Over the course of Roger Tory Peterson’s lifetime the Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) pushed its typical range much further north, moving into his homes in Jamestown, New York and Old Lyme, Connecticut. This was likely due to a combination of climate change, agricultural areas and grasslands being allowed to mature into woodlands, and humans spreading into suburbs creating additional favorable habitat and feeding birds year-round in their yards. The species can now commonly be found in both of Roger’s favorite locations. This bird is a male, showing his red forehead though obscuring the lightly colored red belly both sexes show when not concealed by other gray feathers. They are such characters, so vocal and active, always spreading a little cheer to the neighborhood…I’m glad they decided to join us up here! They were a bird exclusively of the United States, but now it seems like extreme southern Canada has accepted them for good. Where will they stop?!

Red-bellied Woodpecker-7837

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator