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DonBo

Black Backed Woodpecker *sorry, no pix*

7 posts in this topic

I saw one of these last week in a pine plantation near Crex Meadows in NW Wisconsin.

I had never even heard of them before. Are they somewhat rare in these parts?

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They are considered a uncommon resident of Wisconsin according to the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative and migrants are extremely rare. There is a small breeding population of them in the state but they haven't been studied enough to know how many or how stable the population is. Even in MN where we have a larger population they are still not a real common site because they usually reside in black spruce and tamarack swamps that are rarely visited by people. They are one of the birds though that people come to this area to see and add to their life list. Here is a male I caught searching for insects in the Sax/Zim bog last winter. Females lack the yellow spot.

bbmale.jpg

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Thanks for the response. It was a male that I saw. Wasn't sure what it was, but was very certain I had never seen one before. It wasn't hard to ID it with my bird book, but they said very little about it's range, etc.

I am assuming this time of year it was just passing through?

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It was most likely a resident since they don't typically migrate.

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Hi Donbo,

I live in the northern suburbs of the twin cities, MN and normally I would have to travel north to find Black-Backed Woodpeckers (Sax/Zim bog and north into B.W.C.A.) But right now some are coming down to the metro and even a couple have been seen south of the Twin Cities. I seen a female at the Sherburn NWR just north of Elk River, MN about a week ago. When an irruption happen they will move away from there place of residents (generally because of a lack of food or a very rough winter) but it is not migrating since they don't do it every year. There are a few other birds that have started an irruption, White-Wing Crossbills and Snowy Owls. Keep your ears and eyes open, you may see some more interesting birds.

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Interesting comment about the white winged crossbills. Mentioned seeing a male a couple weeks ago here mixed in with a group of house finches and we're ~ 80 miles south of the Twin Cities. Haven't seen him since but I'm not around the feeders most of the day. Would love to see one of those black-backed woodpeckers in person.

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Great info. Thanks sirfishalots!

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