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 Black-backed Woodpecker

Status in Michigan

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Black-backed Woodpecker.

Use the links below to view the Black-backed Woodpecker reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Black-backed Woodpecker sightings.
Black-backed Woodpecker Archives Reports
Fall 2003 3
Spring 2003 8
Winter 02-03 3
Fall 2002 7
Summer 2002 1
Spring 2002 5
Winter 01-02 2
Fall 2001 4
Summer 2001 1
Spring 2001 1
Winter 00-01 6
Fall 2000 8
Summer 2000 11
Spring 2000 5
Winter 00-99 1
Fall 1999 9
Spring/Summer 1999 0

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Black-backed Woodpecker

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Black-backed Woodpecker
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Black-backed Woodpecker
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text
The Birds of Michigan - by: Norman A. Wood
Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75

Picoides arcticus (Swainson)
Arctic Three-toed Woodpecker (A.O.U. 1998: Black-backed Woodpecker)
U.M.M.Z. Animal Diversity Reference

Resident. A few formerly ranged south to Washtenaw and Kalamazoo counties. The species is now rare in the Lower Peninsula and uncommon in the Upper Peninsula.

First recorded for Michigan by Kneeland (1857: 236).

Lower Peninsula.-Records indicate that formerly this woodpecker was more common in the southern counties. There are 2 Michigan specimens collected by Sudworth in the collection of the Roosevelt Wild Life Forest Experiment Station: a male from Kalamazoo County, November, 1883, and a female from Washtenaw County, November, 1880. A second Washtenaw County specimen, taken by M. L. Eaton in October, 1884, is now at the University of Nebraska (Wolcott, 1901: 94-95).

The most recent specimen from the southern part of Michigan is one (U.M.M.Z.) taken by F. L. Giddings near Tommy's Lake, Oakland County, November 7, 1920. Walter E. Hastings reported 3 individuals in the same county on December 6,2023 (near South Lyon). Barrows (1912: 350) mentioned 3 specimens taken in St. Clair County by John Hazelwood. N. A. Wood and Frothingham (1905: 47) noted the species in summer in the vicinity of Crawford County, and more recently Trautman saw an individual on June 30, 1926, near Lovells. Van Tyne (1925: 618) did not find the species in Charlevoix County in 1923, though Walter E. Hastings had seen it there in 1910. Blanchard and Nelson (MS of 1937) made no mention of it as occurring in the summer in Cheboygan County, but Gunn (1881:119-20) secured 5 specimens there (near the Black River) on May 9, 1880, and H. W. Wilcox took 1 (U.M.M.Z.-on the north shore of Burt Lake) on December 29, 1941.

Upper Peninsula.-The species is more frequent in this peninsula than in the south. There is some indication that it may be more abundant in winter than in other seasons: Magee (1923a; 121) found it "abundant" at Sault Ste Marie during the winter of 1922-23; and Bryens, who has noted several individuals every year near McMillan, Luce County, re- ported it as "common" there in the late fall of 1927. Specimens (U.M.M.Z.) have been taken in the late fall and winter in Marquette, Gogebic, Iron, and Baraga counties.

SUMMER.-There is 1 nesting record for Michigan. Walter E. Hastings found a nest June 15, 1941, in the Cusino Refuge, Schoolcraft County (4 miles east of Melstrand, Alger County), and watched the adults feed the young. It seems probable that the species nests in other parts of the Upper Peninsula, since it has been observed during the summer months and immature birds have been taken. N. A. Wood (1914: 65) secured a young male (U.M.M.Z.) from Whitefish Point in late July; Bryens (McMillan, Luce County) has summer records for May 25, 1929, and June 22, 1928, and Christofferson (Blaney, Schoolcraft County) has records for June 10, 1930, and June 17, 1932. Leonard Wing (1940: 182) found the species in the summer of 1932 in Gogebic and Houghton counties; N. A. Wood, Peet, and McCreary (1906; 115) saw them in the latter part of July in the Porcupine Mountains of Ontonagon County; and Trautman noted an individual near Covington, Baraga County, October 5, 1934. The species is also found on Isle Royale: Laurence Dayton recorded it throughout the winter of 1936-37 and as late as May 23, 2023 (when he left the island) ; it has been seen there in late August, 1904 (N. A. Wood, Peet, and McCreary, 1906: 123); in September, 1905 (Max M. Peet, 1909: 355); and September, 1938 (F. M. and A. M. Baumgartner).

Mueseum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

Additional Resources

1. Black-backed Woodpecker by: Rick Baetsen

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