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Saving Snags for Red-headed Woodpeckers
Red-headed Woodpeckers excavate cavities in large, dead trees called snags. Yet, over much of the Red-head's range, snags are frequently cut down as unsightly, or because they make good firewood. There are ways we can help the Red-headed Woodpecker -- and many other woodpeckers, too. The key is to leave snags intact. If you must cut down a tree on your property, consider leaving the lower trunk as a snag - a veritable condominium for wildlife!
Red-headed Woodpecker – Save the Snags
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote!
[Sound of hammering a nail into wood, hand saw in the background]
When are the sounds of construction also the sounds of conservation? One example is when they come from the building of nestboxes for birds such as the Red-headed Woodpecker.
[Drilling and calls of a Red-headed Woodpecker]
But why build a nest box for woodpeckers? Don’t they carve out their own homes?
They do. Red-headed Woodpeckers excavate cavities in large, dead trees – called snags. [Red-headed Woodpecker calls] Yet, over much of the bird’s range, snags are frequently cut down as unsightly, or because they make good firewood.
[Red-headed Woodpecker calls]
The Red-headed Woodpecker is a striking bird. Its scarlet head glows in sharp contrast with its flashy black-and-white wings. It’s a head-turner, even for those who rarely notice birds. Native to the East and Midwest, its numbers have dropped by more than half since the 1960s, largely through loss of suitable nesting habitat.
[Red-headed Woodpecker drumming and calls]
There are ways we can help the Red-headed Woodpecker. The key is to leave snags intact. The woodpeckers will prosper even in city parks and on golf courses – as long as managers protect snags.
Meanwhile let’s keep building those nestboxes. You can find plans on our website, birdnote.org.
[Sound of hammering]
Yow! My thumb!
Sounds of the Red-headed Woodpecker provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Drilling 105281 and call105460 recorded by G.A. Keller.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org June 2014 Narrator: Michael Stein