Winona Bird Club program to feature Red-headed Woodpecker recovery

September 29, 2018

Winona Bird Club monthly programs resume this week with a presentation by Tom Beer and Rita Doucet on the Red-headed Woodpecker Recovery Project, at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3 at the Winona Friendship Center, 251 Main St., Winona.

This colorful and well-loved resident of our area is harder and harder to find where it used to be frequently seen. Find out what this research project has learned about why Red-headed Woodpeckers are struggling, and what can be done to help them.

The Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis began the Red-headed Woodpecker Recovery project at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve in 2008 as a volunteer driven effort to learn more about the decline of the red-headed woodpecker and to find ways to assist their recovery. The project has grown to include an active membership of about 200 individuals and engages over 50 citizen science volunteers each year to work with habitat partners around Minnesota, offer information and education, and conduct citizen science research at Cedar Creek, now in its second year.

The Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve is home to over 50 nesting pairs of red-headed woodpeckers and is the project’s main site for research. Dr. Elena West and project technicians lead the research effort, which includes behavioral observations, nest monitoring, and capturing of birds for banding, and attachment of radio-transmitters and GPS devices. Citizen scientists provide hundreds of hours of behavioral observations to learn more about bird nesting, roosting, and foraging behaviors. Collaboration with the University of Minnesota, the Minneapolis Audubon chapter and the University of Toledo has expanded the project’s regional scope.

Tom Beer and Rita Doucet have volunteered with the project for the past eight years and are members of the project’s habitat committee. They conduct several surveys at Cedar Creek each season, as well as surveys in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, and other locations. Tom is also a member of the project’s steering committee.

To learn more about Red-headed Woodpeckers and this project, visit the blog curated by Dr. Elena West: https://www.rhworesearch.org/

The Winona Bird Club (FKA Hiawatha Valley Audubon Society) has been meeting regularly since 1961. Monthly programs from September through May offer current scientific information and engaging personal experiences related to conservation of birds, mammals, aquatic life, and other aspects of the natural environment. Programs are free and open to the public. Nominal annual membership fees enable the club to offer high quality monthly programs, field trips, Christmas Bird Count, and a youth environmental camp scholarship.