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 Red-headed Woodpecker

Status in Michigan
Fairly Common Transient summer resident

Early Spring Date

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

Use the links below to view the Red-headed 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 Red-headed Woodpecker sightings.
Red-headed Woodpecker Archives Reports
Fall 2003 12
Spring 2003 46
Winter 02-03 8
Fall 2002 55
Summer 2002 17
Spring 2002 56
Winter 01-02 8
Fall 2001 29
Summer 2001 21
Spring 2001 37
Winter 00-01 5
Fall 2000 11
Summer 2000 12
Spring 2000 32
Winter 00-99 2
Fall 1999 8
Spring/Summer 1999 8

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Red-headed Woodpecker

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Red-headed Woodpecker
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Red-headed 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

Melanerpes erythrocephalus erythrocephalus (Linnaeus)
Eastern Red-headed Woodpecker (A.O.U. 1998: Red-headed Woodpecker)

Summer resident, common in the Lower Peninsula, uncommon in the Upper. Irregular winter resident (sometimes in numbers) in the south.

First listed for Michigan by Sager (1839: 415).

SPRING.-Arrival is reported in the south in early April; in the Upper Peninsula, in early May.

Lower Peninsula.-L. W. Campbell (1940: 204) gave May 5 as the average date for the beginning of the main flight in the Toledo-Erie marsh area. Swales usually noted first arrivals in the Detroit area in the latter part of April and early May, but in 1902 numbers were present there by April 13. N. A. Wood (1922: 16) found the species common in Berrien County during the first 10 days of May (1918, 1919) ; during the 1930's, L. H. Walkinshaw recorded arrival in the Battle Creek area in late April and early May. Two specimens (U.M.M.Z.) were collected on Beaver Island, Charlevoix County, by Victor H. Cahalane on May 16, 1932.

Upper Peninsula.-Christofferson recorded arrival at Blaney, Schoolcraft. County, after the first week in May (earliest date: 1 seen on May 8, in 1936 and in 1938). Bryens has seen the species at McMillan, Luce County, at a similar time (earliest date: May 10, in 1938) ; and S. S. Gregory, Jr. (1929:178), saw 1 in the Huron Mountains, Marquette County, on May 21, 1921. Near Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County, N. A. Wood (1933: 720) saw a Red-headed Woodpecker on May 11, 1931.

SUMMER.-Nesting is reported from late May to late June.

Lower Peninsula.-In the Detroit area, Swales (1903: 17; notes) listed this woodpecker as an abundant summer resident and found nests from May 26 (1901, 2 nests, each with 5 eggs) to June 26 (1916, nest with young). In the vicinity of Vicksburg, Kalamazoo County, F. W. Rapp (1931: 16) listed 2 nests, each with 5 eggs, one on May 22,1898, and the other on May 26,1897. A nest with young was observed in northwestern Huron County on June 23 (N. A. Wood and Gaige, 1911: 287), and on Charity Island, in the same county, an adult with 2 young was seen on July 17, 2023 (N. A. Wood, 1912a: 185). Chaney (1910: 274) noted a few pairs at Hamlin Lake, Mason County, in the summer of 1909; J. Van Tyne (1925: 618-19) listed the species as numerous in the vicinity of Vanderbilt, Otsego County, in 1923. Five to 8 Red-headed Woodpeckers were seen daily on South Manitou Island, Leelanau County, by L. D. Case and A. E. Staebler in June, 1940;on Beaver Island, Charlevoix County, a few were seen by N. A. Wood in June, 1925, and 2 specimens (U.M.M.Z.) were collected there by T. D. Hinshaw on June 22,1937. Blanchard and Nelson (MS of 1937) and N .A. Wood, Smith, and Gates (1916: 12) found this woodpecker nesting occasionally (1911 to 1937) in the Douglas Lake area, Cheboygan County.

Upper Peninsula.-In Mackinac County, J. Van Tyne (1923: 23) saw several full-grown young (near Hessel) on August 6, 1920, and Christofferson saw 8 adults (near Gould City) on June 3, 1936. During the summer of 1914, the species was occasionally observed at Whitefish Point, Chippewa County, by N. A. Wood (1914: 65), and an adult was seen at its nest south of Deer Park, Luce County, by F. W. Braund on June 21, 1940. E. T. Hooper collected a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) near Menominee on August 12, 1940, and F. M. Gaige (1914: 81-82) found 2 pairs nesting at Brown Lake, Dickinson County, in early July, 1909. A Red-headed Woodpecker was seen in the Huron Mountains, Marquette County, by J. Van Tyne in late June, 1936, and another was seen at Imp Lake, Gogebic County, by John L. George and R. L. Patterson on August 9, 1938. Near Ironwood, Gogebic County, Leonard Wing (1940: 179; and notes) saw 2 on July 12 and 3 on July 15, 1932. N. A. Wood (1933: 720) found the species a rare summer resident at Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County, collecting a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) there on June 2, 1931.

FALL.-Southward movement is reported in September and October.

Upper Peninsula.-In 1929, A. Murie saw a Red-headed Woodpecker on Isle Royale on September 12 and another on September 22; Albert Brown collected a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) there on September 26. Magee (1923a:121) observed an individual at Sault Ste Marie on November 5; Bryens has found migrants present at McMillan, Luce County, from the latter part of August to late September.

Lower Peninsula.-N. A. Wood (1911: 96) saw a few Red-headed Wood- peckers on Charity Island, Huron County, until the latter part of September in 1910. F. W. Rapp (1931:16) recorded the species at Vicksburg, Kalama- zoo County, until late October, and A. E. Staebler saw about 80 Red-headed Woodpeckers on the Edwin S. George Reserve, near Pinckney, Livingston County, on September 21, 1941. Swales (notes) found them common in the vicinity of Detroit from mid-September to the end of October, and L. "W. Campbell (1940: 204) gave September 14 as the average date for the end of main flight in the Toledo-Erie marsh area.

WINTER.-The Red-headed Woodpecker is found wintering occasionally in numbers as far north as lonia County; Studt (1929: 47; 1931: 56) saw 10 at Pewamo, lonia County, on December 26, 1928, and 22 on December 26, 1930. F. W. Rapp (1931: 16) listed several winter records from the vicinity of Vicksburg, Kalamazoo County, and "Walkinshaw has observed Red- headed Woodpeckers in the Battle Creek region in 5 of the winters from 1930 to 1940. Purdy (1900: 174) reported that the species wintered occasionally near Plymouth, Wayne County, and Swales (1905a: 80) found the birds in "large numbers" on Belle Isle, "Wayne County, in the winter of 1903-4. Records from the Ann Arbor area include: N. A. Wood collected a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) on January 10, 1920; J. and C. Van Tyne (1922: 28) saw 10 on December 26, 1921; and John L. George saw 6 on December 21, 1937.

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]

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