Their diet also consists of in season fruit, nuts and insects. and has a much smaller bill than either bird. Woodpecker enthusiasts with backyard feeders can attest to their gregarious nature. In Virginia, historic records from the early twentieth century document red-cockaded woodpeckers as having ranged as far west as Giles County, as far north as Albemarle County, and throughout the southeastern corner of the state, but by 2002, only 2 breeding pairs remained in the Commonwealth, both at what is now Piney Grove Preserve (PGP) in Sussex County. However, habitat restoration on its own is not enough; since it can take red-cockaded woodpeckers several months or longer to excavate a cavity in living pine, installing artificial nest cavities has been vital to enhancing clusters and establishing new groups. Solid white black. Red-cockaded woodpeckers were once common in the southeastern U.S. with a range that extended north into New Jersey and largely corresponded to the historic range of pine savanna. Restoring the Red-cockaded Woodpecker in Virginia, VDGIF Blog. Photo by Nick Athanas. Identifying the state’s remaining seven species is equally as easy by following a few woodpecker identification rules of thumb. Downy Woodpecker, All About Birds. Also in 2017, DWR and TNC biologists discovered a banded male red-cockaded woodpecker with an active cavity on Big Woods WMA. (2017). (2018). Red-cockaded woodpecker declines, regionally and in Virginia, were the result of habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation, largely due to large-scale clear-cutting of pine savannas for timber harvesting and agriculture as well as fire suppression during the twentieth century. Watts, B.D. CCB’s 2017 surveys of PGP and GDSNWR identified a combined total population of 96 individual red-cockaded woodpeckers—at the time, this was the largest population of the species known to occur in Virginia since the early 1980s. Although most species live in the tropics, this diverse group of birds is found is found in virtually every habitat in the Western Hemisphere. Both of these species have plain white bellies, whereas the red-cockaded woodpecker has black spotting along the sides of its white belly. The pine resin looks like melting white candle wax. They are year round residents and in many areas experiencing food stress they will also make visits to back yard feeders. Downy and hairy woodpeckers have a thick white stripe down their back, differing from the red-cockaded woodpecker’s back, which is black with ladder-like markings. Red-cockaded woodpeckers may be preyed upon by rat snakes, eastern screech-owls, American kestrels and hawks. Red-cockaded Woodpecker. Forest Resources: Red-Cockaded Woodpecker. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It’s mostly a winter resident because the population breeds in the north, as far as Canada. Photo by Meghan Marchetti/ DWR. They are approximately the size of an American robin. They eat … (2016). The downy woodpecker is virtually identical in plumage pattern to the larger hairy woodpecker, but it can be distinguished from the hairy by the presence of black spots on its white tail feathers and the length of its bill. and S.R. Red-cockaded woodpeckers were once common in the southeastern U.S. with a range that extended north into New Jersey and largely corresponded to the historic range of pine savanna. BirdLife International. Family groups use a group of trees, known as a “cluster”, to develop nesting/ roosting cavities. Additional strategies have included using metal plates to reduce the size of cavity entrances that have become too large for the birds to use, and occasionally translocating individuals to bolster existing populations or establish new populations. This behavior distinguishes them from all other woodpecker species, which build their cavities in dead trees or decaying parts of living trees. Downy Woodpeckers, the smaller of the two, also have a smaller bill. Example of pine savanna habitat at Piney Grove Preserve. However, with the large-scale harvesting of these forests that began in the 1800s, woodpecker populations were decimated and they are no longer found in some states that originally formed their range.