When a bird shows up that has been seen in Chittenden County only a handful of times, it's cause for excitement. When the bird is wearing brilliant red, white and deepest black, it's even better!
A Red-headed Woodpecker has been hanging around a residential area in Essex Junction, first seen by the homeowners and now ogled by many local birders. Clem Nilan (who gave us an amazing photo of a very rare White Pelican last August) shared these pictures of the beautiful bird.
Red-headed Woodpeckers used to be very common in much of the U.S. but their population has been declining by about 2% a year since the 1960s. Possible reasons include the loss of most of the country's chestnut trees in the early twentieth century and the significant reduction in the numbers of beech trees (for food) and big dead trees (for nesting). The species is now considered threatened or endangered.
Thanks to Clem for these wonderful photos! (Information is from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.)