Black-backed Woodpeckers-forest fires
Something got me very curious!How do Black-backed
Woodpeckers find their preferred habitat recently burned
forests?Has research ever been conducted on that.
I have a good example,this spring there was a forest fire
near where I live ,this spring(May)and recently went there
and it was full of b.b.woodpeckers.How did they find it?
That’s an interesting question. The Sibley Guide just says “ . . . they converge on recently burned forest stands to feed on the rich supply of beetle grubs in charred dead trees.” Pete Dunne says “Burned areas are colonized as quickly as three months after burning and remain attractive to woodpeckers for a period of approximately four years.” National Geographic just comments on their curious toes.
So, if it takes months after a fire for them to show up, it is not as simple as them seeing a column of smoke and heading toward it. They must be pretty smart birds.
I can't remember where I read it, but somewhere I read that black-backeds can show up when some of the area is still smoldering. If that is the case, I would guess that they follow the smoke, but in cases where it takes longer for them to colonize, then...??
My guess is that the woodpeckers are either nomadic for much of the year or have some pattern of dispersing across the landscape, where they can find newly burned areas.
This is a very interesting question. I don't know if there has been any research, but I'm curious enough to try to look into it...
I know from my experience with fires in our province that with a good wind forest fires can be either smelled or seen from far away.
So am sure black backed woodpeckers have better senses then humans
do especially when a major food source comes into play.
Their food source bark beetles probably also fly or migrate to burn sites?
So that may be another angle of how black-backs find burn sites,follow
their food source?
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