Red-headed Woodpecker

Members of our naturalist society received an email from the society president today saying that a Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) had been spotted in town today, far out of its usual range (see map below).

After I finished my egg route, my mother drove to the neighbourhood where the bird had been spotted and dropped me off for an hour. About five minutes into my search, I found it on a power pole. Here are some photos I quickly snapped. It’s very exciting news, because it’s so far out of range, it’s a life bird for me, and its status is “near threatened”.

Here is the range map from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology,

As you can see, Alberta is completely blank — — most of Canada and the western United States too — so to find a Red-headed Woodpecker here is very unusual, though there have been some reports on eBird of the bird in the south of the province.

Will add more to this post but have some emails to write to let others know!

15 thoughts on “Red-headed Woodpecker

  1. Nicely done Charlotte – I’ll send a note out to let the Vermilion River Naturalists’ Society know that the bird has been confirmed.

  2. Way to go with the sighting of the Red-headed Woodpecker, Charlotte! I saw one down here in Calgary in 1996 and haven’t seen any since. I think I remember a few mentions of this species since then. Definetly not an expected bird by any means.

  3. Wow this is so absolutely wonderful – first for you to see this woodpecker, though it speaks to me of climate change and having the bird found so far from its normal range. But it’s happening. Congratulations on a life bird!

  4. Very nice sighting. I still haven’t seen one where I live. Thank you for visiting my blog! You have so many posts, I will most surely come back to read it all — I really learn so much from more experienced birders such as yourself — I just started out this year… Congratulations on the birding program you mentioned on Ray Brown’s Talkin’ Birds!

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