Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Picoides borealis
The Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) is an endangered species of the southeastern U.S. In fact, this species is endemic to that area having never been sighted outside of the region. The species is a habitat specialist, requiring mature growth of pine forest with a grassland component underneath. In fact, its habitat requirements are closely associated with that of the Bachman's Sparrow, so the two species often live side by side. The birds shown here were digital captures in Jasper Co., Texas in May, 2003, with a Canon EOS 10D and 600 mm f/4L IS lens and 1.4 X extender. The nest cavity shown is a man-made insert which researchers have used with great success to help the species increase its numbers. Note how the sap from the tree has virtually covered the nest box insert. The shot at right shows an adult bird perched on the side of a tree near the nest cavity. In June 2003, I returned to this same nest cavity and watched as the adults fed a young male bird. See at right a shot of the youngster peering from the cavity as well as a shot of an adult looking out of the cavity. On the lower left is a shot of an adult perched at the entrance to the cavity and another shot of an adult perched on a pine tree trunk. Note that most of these adult birds are banded. Researchers are studying this species intently and most adult individuals that are seen are banded. Scroll down for lots more images!
Typical Red-cockaded Woodpecker habitat in Jasper Co., Texas.
The next two shots were taken near Venus, Florida, in April, 1996.
The next 11 images of Red-cockaded Woodpecker were taken in the Angelina National Forest in Jasper Co., Texas, in March, 2008, with a Canon EOS 1D Mark III and EF 600mm F/4 L IS lens and 2X extender. There are a couple of shots of the bird preening and one of it foraging under a piece of pine bark. I was standing near a nest tree while an adult was investigating the man-made nest cavity. An un-banded bird worked its way down a pine tree near me and I was able to get some very nice images, certainly the best I have ever taken of this species, which can be very difficult to photograph. I felt very lucky indeed to have had this experience.
In June, 2008, I was able to take some additional images of a banded adult Red-cockaded Woodpecker, also in Jasper Co., Texas. The next 9 images were taken with the same gear as above.
The woodpecker shown here has found an insect pupa, perhaps that of a small moth.
In this shot of the bird, its tongue can be seen probing into the crevice in the tree bark.
The next 2 shots of a Red-cockaded Woodpecker were taken in March, 2010, in Jasper Co., Texas, with a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV and an EF 800mm F/5.6 L IS lens and 1.4X extender.