Earlier this year, in mid-March, I was lucky to visit an old-growth beech forest in SW Michigan on exactly the weekend when the Red-headed Woodpeckers must have decided to scope out the area, looking for tree cavities for their nests. The leafless gray forest was alive with flashes of red, white and blue, as these beautiful birds literally bounced through the air. They would land heavy and hard against a hollow tree with a loud "thunk." Their voice is a musical rattle--not melodic, by any stretch of the imagination, but definitely energetic. And they also broadcast their presence by drumming their beak typewriter-quick against a hollow tree. It's a cool sound.
I've watched a Red-headed Woodpecker carry around a large acorn, until it finally found the perfect crevice in the bark of a hickory tree, where it jammed the acorn--I guess for a future meal. I learned later that they are one of only a few woodpeckers that store food like this.
You know how embarrassing it is to look back at old high school year books? (That hair! What was I thinking!?) Well, just so the mature Red-headed Woodpeckers don't take themselves too seriously, I included a photo of one from its adolescence. Embarrassing. This might be why the adults' faces are always red. (bada-boom)
Dan's Feathursday Feature is a weekly contribution to the COS blog featuring the thoughts, insights and pictures of Chicago birder, Dan Lory on birds of the Chicago region.