6 Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)

5 March

Red-bellied Woodpeckers are quite common south of Canada (ie: the US) but odd birds have turned up in the Montreal area in the past few years with a small, but reliable, breeding population in Morgan Arboretum just down the road from here. Climate change – who knows? They are at the nothernmost limit of their population hereabouts and are aided in winter by having access to seed-filled feeders. This picture is of one that was in our garden a few years ago and was hacking bark off a tree as you can see – I didn’t gete a picture of the one just spotted. Although it’s hard to discern, there is a red-belly to these birds but it is well hidden when they are against the tree like this, as they usually are, and anyway is quite pale. Such is the way of common names for wildlife. it seems that Red-bellied Woodpeckers have the tendency to nest in clear areas on the margins of forest – edge habitat and use dead trees for their nesting cavities.