The Red-cockaded Woodpecker

Since most of my job here in Florida focuses on Red-cockaded Woodpeckers (Picoides borealis), I figured I might as well put up some photos. We band a segment of our population because it allows us to answer some important questions that we could only make assumptions about if we couldn't relocate known individuals. Also, one of our management strategies involves moving young individuals from highly successful groups in densely populated areas to areas that are currently unoccupied by the woodpeckers. All of that said, we have to catch the birds to band them, and that gives me the special privilege of seeing the birds up close and taking some close-up photos.

This is a male showing the red "cockade," which was historically a term that referred to a special type of ornament worn on the side of a fancy hat. With rare exception, only the males have the red patch on their heads, and it's usually covered up by black feathers. They usually reveal it when trying to show off what an impressive male they are... or when they're pissed off because someone is holding them.

This one might be a little hard to see unless you enlarge the photo, but it shows the nets we use to put up to the woodpecker hole to catch them as they fly out. Sometimes getting the net up there before they fly out is the trick; other times getting them to fly out at all is the trick.

If you know the size of my head, then this photo will give you an idea of how large/small the woodpeckers are.

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