Sunday, May 31, 2015

First Real View Of Black-backed Woodpeckers!

The Black-backed Woodpecker has been a bird that I've wanted to see for several years. They are  found in certain areas of northern new England where there is boreal habitat. They peel off bark looking in search of wood-boring beetles in specific spruce stands where some of the trees are in the process of dying after a fire, blow-down etc. I've been to the areas where they exist during fishing trips over the years but I always came up empty handed when I searched for one. The Black-backed Woodpecker became my "bogey-bird" and after numerous misses it started to feel more like a search for Bigfoot.

This year, I decided to put an end to the losing streak. I used ebird to look for locations with the most recent report of Black-backed Woodpeckers. I went camping where they were reported and then contacted Tom who is the board president of the Northeast kingdom Audubon . Tom kindly agreed to meet up with me to help me my search for them. He knew the best places to look for them and showed me where there was a nest sight. We waited patiently watching from a distance but only had a brief view of the male sticking his head out of the nest-hole cavity.

We moved to a different patch of woods where the sound of a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher caught our attention. We hiked deeper into the woods to try to find the flycatcher and it was then that we heard the unique pik note of A Black-backed Woodpecker. We found a male (above) and a female busy moving from tree to tree in search of food. It was quite a thrill to finally find them and be able to watch them up close! 

Thanks Tom and also to Vermont Birder Blog!

8 comments:

Michelle said...

I admire your tenacity in finding this bird!

Anna said...

Wow,Larry ! I looked for the bird at Baxter 4 years but never found it. You are a great birder and I love the pictures.
Deb G

Larry said...

Thanks-This is the one bird that was highest on my priority list so I'm glad to have finally seen one or in this case 2.

lostgander said...

Congrats!

Cynthia McWilliams said...

Ha, done like a real birder! I've never even heard of a Black Backed Woodpecker!

Phil Slade said...

That's a new one on me Larry. Well done in your persistence to find them. They are all out there somewhere, some easier than others.

troutbirder said...

Way to go. The nemesis has been overcome...:)

Kathie Brown said...

Wow! Lucky you! I am still trying to find this bird!