Presentation Title

Food Preferences of Red-Headed Woodpeckers (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) and the Relationship with Season Change

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Derek W. Rosenberger

Dr. Gregory Long

Project Type

Student Scholarship

Scholarship Domain(s)

Scholarship of Discovery

Presentation Type

Poster Session

Abstract

Red-headed woodpeckers (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) used to be easy to find out in the wild, but as humans encroached on their habitats, their populations started to become impacted. They have a habitat range from Southern Canada down to the Gulf Coast. In several states their numbers are threatened due to loss of habitat. Red-headed woodpeckers prefer to live in open woodlands with dead, or dying, trees to nest in. As humans take away the dead trees from the forests, red-headed woodpeckers are losing their nesting sites. Preservation of red-headed woodpecker habitats are needed to ensure the population starts to grow, and the numbers go from the “threatened” level to more stable levels. In order to preserve red-headed woodpecker habitats, knowing their food preferences is useful. The purpose of this study was to determine if red-headed woodpeckers had a preference when it came to food and if that preference changed as the seasons changed. Photos of red-headed woodpeckers foraging on food items not from bird feeders were collected from macaulaylibrary.org. After analyzing 18,400 photos it was determined that red-headed woodpeckers prefer to eat nuts over any other type of food that was observed. As the seasons go from warm to cold, there is a decrease in the percentage of animals forged on.

Permission type

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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Food Preferences of Red-Headed Woodpeckers (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) and the Relationship with Season Change

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Red-headed woodpeckers (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) used to be easy to find out in the wild, but as humans encroached on their habitats, their populations started to become impacted. They have a habitat range from Southern Canada down to the Gulf Coast. In several states their numbers are threatened due to loss of habitat. Red-headed woodpeckers prefer to live in open woodlands with dead, or dying, trees to nest in. As humans take away the dead trees from the forests, red-headed woodpeckers are losing their nesting sites. Preservation of red-headed woodpecker habitats are needed to ensure the population starts to grow, and the numbers go from the “threatened” level to more stable levels. In order to preserve red-headed woodpecker habitats, knowing their food preferences is useful. The purpose of this study was to determine if red-headed woodpeckers had a preference when it came to food and if that preference changed as the seasons changed. Photos of red-headed woodpeckers foraging on food items not from bird feeders were collected from macaulaylibrary.org. After analyzing 18,400 photos it was determined that red-headed woodpeckers prefer to eat nuts over any other type of food that was observed. As the seasons go from warm to cold, there is a decrease in the percentage of animals forged on.