|  Home  |   About us  |   Programs & Projects  |   Calendar  |   Birding  |   Blog  |   Get Involved  |

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Red-bellied Woodpecker visits NBNC!

Red-bellied Woodpecker (male) seen at
NBNC on Nov. 7, 2012
"Look!  It's a Red-bellied Woodpecker," shouted Chip from his office in the North Branch Nature Center.  Lots of interesting birds have been seen from the office windows at NBNC, but it came as a shock to find this beautiful male clinging to the trunk of the big Red Maple tree next to the NBNC building.  If you go birding in southern New York, it is hard to avoid seeing this bird, but as you travel north they become scarce.

Just a few decades ago, a Red-bellied Woodpecker in Vermont was extremely rare.  With temperatures slowly rising, the range of this species has expanded and today they are encountered regularly in the Champlain Valley (although still very uncommon in central Vermont).  Data from the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) support this trend.  Only one CBC record exists from before 1980, but the species has now been recorded annually since the mid-1990's (see graph below).

As climate change continues, it will be interesting to see if the Red-bellied Woodpecker becomes even more prevalent in Vermont.  Perhaps a decade from now, we'll peer out the windows at NBNC and remark, "oh, look... another Red-bellied Woodpecker. That's the fourth time this week!"


  1. I was just driving listening to this bird's "churr" call on my "birding by ear cd." I was wondering what the chances are of me hearing it in Central Vt, and then opened my yahoo account to find this post. Thanks for answering my exact question!

  2. We are in Clarendon, one town south of Rutland, and have a Red Bellied Woodpecker who has apparently decided to stay for a while...seeing him several times a day on various feeders. What a magnificent looking bird!