I saw a Pileated Woodpecker at Ewen Park in Riverdale today. It had not been mauled in any way & there was nothing such as crustiness around the eyes to suggest disease. The official blog for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. Black-backed Woodpeckers haven’t been seen in New York City since one was seen and photographed in Central Park in 1958. Next year, Three-toed. Ants were present inside this section, but were a symptom, not the problem. The thing is, no matter how healthy that tree may appear, it is definitely not sound, and may in fact be quite dangerous. White-crowned Sparrow, Forest Park, Queens. Woodpeckers live throughout North America. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. I love all animals & was on my way home from the Bronx Zoo. They were never common in New York City and the only records I could find are as follows: one in the Bronx’s Bronx Park in 1939 and another in Van Cortlandt Park in 1962; birds in Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park in 1959 and Inwood Hill Park in 1961; and there were specimens taken in East New York, Brooklyn, in the 1840s and in Jamaica, Queens, in 1879. The Pileated woodpecker is our largest woodpecker, photo by Lilly Schelling, State Parks . If you ever see pileated woodpeckers “vandalizing” one of your landscape trees, be aware that decay lurks within it. But even birders might be surprised to learn that eight species of woodpecker have graced New York City’s five boroughs with their presence! It’s possible they are jealous of termites, which can do actual carpentry. It’s the only species in the Dryocopus genus in the United Sates and probably the largest woodpecker in any area. Was there anything I should have done? What are these woodpeckers and where is one likely to find them? @Sam S: My comment was only about Corey’s use of the disbelief trope or cliche. I think I just saw a red bellied woodpecker in my backyard in Brooklyn. Now that flood of birds has been reduced to a trickle with the breeding populations north of the city greatly reduced and only a few birds are reported each year. Hairy Woodpeckers are essentially Downy Woodpeckers writ large, though they are much more scarce in the city. I am not a birder. thanks for the great story on our woodpeckers… I know I enjoy a robust crowd of Red-bellied, Downy, & Hairy that overwinter in Forest Park, and this year I also had a male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker stick around. Using insecticide on ants inside a tree will put all sorts of birds at risk, not to mention pets and children, and is unlikely to completely eradicate the colony anyway. They tend to be a confiding bird, willing to allow close approach, and they readily come to feeders for suet and even sunflower seeds. The easiest way to find Red-bellied Woodpeckers is to walk in the woods and listen for what sounds like a soft cough coming from up in a tree and then try to spot the bird making the sound. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. Patches of white are also visible as it flies in its distinctive undulating pattern. Formerly, it was a very rare visitor that would show up in the region during occasional winter irruptions from its breeding areas which, as its scientific name implies, are in the far north, with the Adirondack Mountains being its closest stronghold and likeliest origin of the birds that showed up in New York City. The Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus. In turn, those ants aren’t ruining your tree, but are signaling the presence of advanced decay inside it. Learn how your comment data is processed. It was pecking at the old utility pole of all places. (I have actually heard them referred to as “ladder-backed woodpeckers” or “zebra-backed woodpeckers” but that first colloquial name should be avoided lest it cause confusion with the species of that name from the southwest.) The trouble is, that won’t help at all. It began on the side away from our windows, but has moved around into full view. #birds, Jamaican Tody #jamaica #jamaicantody #birdsofinsta, Vermilion Flycatcher, Orange County, California #v, A very nice young White-crowned Sparrow at Normans, Red-winged Blackbird, Queens, New York #singing #b, Sora, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens, New Yor. One of hundreds of thousands of free digital items from The New York Public Library. They come by their name honestly, having a yellow wash on their underparts and a proclivity for drilling holes in trees and sucking down the sap that then bleeds from the tree. It is really quite amazing how fast it works and how deep the cavities (three of them now). Pileated Woodpeckers are rare visitors to New York City, with one from Queens in the winter of 1981-1982, one reported in the northern part of the Bronx in 2009, and several records from Staten Island in the last twenty years the only reports in a very long time. They breed in all five boroughs and can be readily identified in flight by their flashing yellow underwings and white rump. Then, I saw the Pileated Woodpecker at work. Pileated woodpeckers excavate large cavities in dead trees in which to nest – so large that the tree sometimes ends up collapsing at the nest site. It’s a lot of work for these birds to chop holes in wood using only their lips, so you can bet there’s a real good reason for such activity. 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