June 2019

Vol. 47, No. 3

A Rare Opportunity: Documenting Red-headed Woodpeckers Nesting in Plymouth, Massachusetts

Susan Abele


Figure 1. Red-headed Woodpecker at my feeder. Photograph by Carol Molander, June 13, 2018.

Immediately upon landing in America, at Newcastle, Delaware, July 14th, 1794, (Wilson) …shot the first bird that presented itself, a Red­ headed Woodpecker, and he thought it the most beautiful bird he had ever beheld. (Burns 1908)

Red-headed Woodpeckers in the Neighborhood

It is not every day that one staggers out of bed at 6:30 am, and peering out the window, lays eyes for the first time on a glorious adult-plumaged Red-headed Woodpecker, Melanerpes erythrocephalus! No different from Alexander Wilson and many others enchanted by this bird, I was dazzled and in my excitement whipped off an email to Trevor Lloyd-Evans at nearby Manomet, known to me from its inception as the Manomet Bird Observatory. Trevor responded, cautious but affirming, and several hours later showed up on my doorstep. An afternoon of generous conversation was rewarded with a late day visit from the bird I learned to call an RHWO.

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