Nesting Birds of Missouri – Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker - Picidae - Melanerpes carolinus. Wild Acres Park, Overland MO.
Red-bellied Woodpecker – Picidae – Melanerpes carolinus. Wild Acres Park, Overland MO.

Today I watched as park workers cut down this tree at Wild Acres Park in Overland, MO, a municipality in St. Louis County.  I estimate they have removed nearly 75% of all standing dead trees in this park during the last six months.  This tree, that provided shelter and food to a number of Woodpeckers, the tree I watched and photographed an Olive-sided Flycatcher this past spring, two dead oaks that I watched Great-horned Owls display and duet in numerous times over the past 6+ years, a tree that provided a place for a nesting Great-horned Owl, dead snags near the pond that provided perches to herons and wood ducks that were stopping to rest on their way to somewhere more worthy.  Even if the trees must come down due to “safety”, I wish that they would see the benefit that these trees can bring while decomposing in a forest.  Lately, they are even hauling away the carcasses.

The original plans for the park when first established seem to suggest that the park was conceived to provide wildlife with an oasis amidst a suburban desert as much as it was to be a benefit to the humans with similar desires.  I find little evidence in recent years that the park management has goals to this effect.

red-bellied-woodpecker-picidae-melanerpes-carolinus-520a2644
Red-bellied Woodpecker – Picidae – Melanerpes carolinus. Wild Acres Park, Overland MO.

Mulberries and insects were what was on the menu when I was at the nest tree to watch.

red-bellied-woodpecker-picidae-melanerpes-carolinus-520a2618
Red-bellied Woodpecker – Picidae – Melanerpes carolinus. Wild Acres Park, Overland MO.

As seems to be pretty typical of species that provide bi-parental care, the ratio of female to male visits seemed to be ~ 3:1… 😉

red-bellied-woodpecker-picidae-melanerpes-carolinus-520a2663
Red-bellied Woodpecker – Picidae – Melanerpes carolinus. Wild Acres Park, Overland MO.

I’m not sure what the next couple of years might show me in the park.  It sure looks as though there will be fewer resources for feathered friends.

red-bellied-woodpecker-picidae-melanerpes-carolinus-520a1750
Red-bellied Woodpecker – Picidae – Melanerpes carolinus. Wild Acres Park, Overland MO.

-OZB

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