WOODPECKERS

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Red-headed and Hairy woodpeckers probably occur somewhere or at some times on the refuge, but I have never seen them around the public use areas, so they are not included below.  The species below are presented more or less in the order of frequency with which I see or hear them. 

         Red-bellied Woodpeckers are year-round residents, and are common in all of the hammock and pinewood habitats, including smaller islands of hammock surrounded by marsh.  They are also seen occasionally sitting or feeding on isolated palm trees along the dikes.  They really do have a red belly (somewhat), but you have to see one just right to spot it. Females (right) lack the full red cap of the males (left).
Although Pileated Woodpeckers probably don't reach population densities as high as those of Downy Woodpeckers (below), they are more conspicuous to me because of their large size, loud vocalizations, and wide-ranging movement patterns.  They are frequently seen flying across large expanses of open marsh crossing from one patch of hammock to another.  Whenever you see damage to dead trees or fallen logs that looks like this, you can be sure Pileateds are around.
       Downy Woodpeckers are also year-round residents and breeders, and are found in all wooded habitats.  Males (left) have a red spot on the back of the head, while the otherwise identical females lack this bit of color.
Northern (or Yellow-shafted) Flickers are found in wooded habitats on the refuge, but in my experience, aren't common in the smaller "islands" of hammock and tend to be found in more open forests and around edges more than the other woodpeckers.  This one is foraging on the ground at an ant mound.  Other woodpeckers will come to the ground on occasion, but Flickers are seen there more often than others.
      The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a regular, but secretive, winter resident.  They are found in small numbers in mesic and hydric hammock habitats, but are quite easy to miss.  Look for evidence of their presence in symmetrically placed  rows and columns of small holes drilled in the trunks of larger trees; they seem partial to sweetgums.  They return to these holes to feed on sap and the insects that are attracted by flowing sap.  They arrive around October, and usually depart by April.  They are most readily located by listening for their single, descending nasal call.  Females and immature birds (right) are a bit less flamboyant than adult males (left).

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