American Three-toed Woodpecker
|Picoides dorsalis||Order: Piciformes||Family: Picidae (Woodpeckers)|
This species breeds farther north than any other American woodpecker species, exceeded in the world only by the Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker. This and the Black-backed Woodpecker capitalize on fires, forest disease outbreaks, and, especially, insect infestations to pig out on the resulting smorgasbord of grubs. During America’s devastating Dutch elm disease outbreak in the 1950s through ’70s, spread by a bark beetle, American Three-toed Woodpeckers ranged far further south than they had historically.
The lack of a fourth toe, found only in this species, the Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker, and the Black-backed Woodpecker, allows these three species to lean back farther, as you can see in the photo. This probably contributes to the powerful blows these birds are capable of, hitting trees harder than any other woodpeckers.
Laura's Published Works
- Alaska, Part 7: Birding in Anchorage 2022
- A Trip to the Bog 2018
- Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2016
- Duluth Christmas Bird Count 2007 2007
- Duluth Audubon Field Trip! 2007
- American Three-toed Woodpecker 2007
- Isabella Christmas Bird Count 2006 2007
- October 2006 Bird Update 2006
- Black-backed Woodpecker 1999
- Woodpeckers 1987