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A woodpecker common in the subarctic forests of Canada, as well as in the northeastern United States, has been spotted several times in and around Kenmare in the past four months.
A woodpecker common in the subarctic forests of
The piliated woodpecker has been seen in this part of
It’s considered the second-largest woodpecker species in
It’s a big dashing bird with a flaming crest that excavates deep into rotten woods to get at nests and feast on carpenter ants.
It forages mainly by probing, prying and digging through dead wood in search of insects. It has been known to tear stumps apart to find food and may clamber about acrobatically in small branches to get at berries.
Russ Rytter is a local birder who photographed a piliated woodpecker during the Christmas Bird Count, suggesting the Dryocopus pileatus, is extending its range.
“I had reports of it in October, then it disappeared for a while,” Rytter said. “They’re more common in northern
Rytter, who worked a number of years at UND, said they’re consistently seen around Grand Forks and points south around Mayville and
According to the North Dakota Birding Society, since 2005, only five society sightings of the piliated woodpecker have been recorded. They include two in north
Laurie Richardson, who is a biologist at the Lostwood Refuge, said she has seen two of them in the past five years.
“It’s kind of a rare bird,” she said. “But it depends on the winter we’re having.”
Rytter, who first saw the piliated woodpecker about five years ago in this area, believes the bird in the
Rytter said fellow birder Ron Martin of
According to Martin, the sighting in the Kenmare park is only the third sighting he’s been aware of in
“They nest in the
Martin called downtown Kenmare “a marginal habitat” for the piliated woodpecker, but that this bird is adaptable provided there is a food source.
According to an organization called the Boreal Forest Songbird Initiative, 18 percent of the piliated woodpecker population lives in the forest. Their habitat reaches from northern
Some interesting research has been attached to this woodpecker in the past two years in the city of
The PBS station, WTTV-TV, and the Chicago Tribune have both reported that in April of 2016, piliated woodpeckers suddenly began showing up in the western suburbs of
Ironically, the western suburbs is where the emerald ash borer was actively destroying trees.
As the trees died from the ash borer’s destruction, the piliated woodpeckers feasted on the bugs.
In summary, that study suggested that foraging birds, such as the piliated woodpecker increased as the emerald ash borer increased.
Finally, in 2006, the
In fact, data suggests that piliated woodpeckers consumed 85 percent of emerald ash borer populations in infested trees.
Christopher Whelan is a biology professor at the
“We have really powerful evidence of these woodpeckers having an impact on the population of the emerald ash borer,” he said. “The piliated woodpecker won’t save a tree once its infested, but they may save the forest.”
Thus far, there hasn’t been any evidence of the emerald ash borer in
Coincidence, perhaps. But the bird is here, it has been sighted by several people and all the descriptions indicate it’s one bird, a male... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!