As most of you already know, an immature Red-headed Woodpecker has been present in Central Park's North End for the past several weeks. I finally caught up with this individual last Sunday, 15 December, when I assisted in the CBC and was counting birds in the NW sector.
The bird was observed on the western edge of the North Meadow and was frequenting lamppost #9707, just east of the West Drive, at the latitude of 97th Street. Specifically it was plucking fresh acorns from the branch of a nearby oak tree, and caching them in the upper hole of the lamppost! It did this repeatedly during my visit. We all thought this behavior to be highly amusing because it appeared to be having fun "playing the slot machine", but we were also a bit concerned. Others report it doing the same thing today, 22 December, at the same lamppost. Although caching food for later use in winter is common practice among some mammals and birds, this woodpecker picked a storage spot where retrieval appears to be impossible. Per Stephen A. Shunk, author of The Peterson Guide to Woodpeckers of North America (2016), the Red-headed Woodpecker "...follows an unusual storage ritual, first stashing foods in [a] single tree or small area (larder-hoarding), then redistributing pieces to scattered storage sites throughout territory (scatter-hoarding)." To my knowledge, this particular individual is not using any other location yet to store its food, so it is presumably still in Phase 1. Hopefully it will attempt to start scatter-hoarding soon, so that it will realize the error of its ways. Thoughts, anyone? All documentation of this individual's behavior would be much appreciated, especially if it can submitted to eBird. My observations from last Sunday are documented here: https://ebird.org/checklist/S62507462 Thanks, Karen Fung NYC -- NYSbirds-L List Info: http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsWELCOME.htm http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsRULES.htm http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsSubscribeConfigurationLeave.htm ARCHIVES: 1) http://email@example.com/maillist.html 2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/NYSBirds-L 3) http://birding.aba.org/maillist/NY01 Please submit your observations to eBird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ --