Date: 3/1/17 6:12 pm
From: John Romano <birderjuan...>
Subject: Re: [LABIRD-L] LALIT: Red-headed Woodpecker declines
I have sort of stumbled into a Red-headed Woodpecker "hotspot" in Opelousas
centered around South Park. If one takes Market St south thru the historic
district for about 3/4 of a mile from the downtown area of the courthouse,
Market St enters South Park . This whole resideniual area has lots of
mature trees both pines and decidious. On 04/21/16 there was one RHWP
working a tree in the yard on Tennis St, 2 short blocks north of the Park,
and 3 more flying around the parking lot at the north end of park. I
walked about 1/10 miles thru the park into the residential area just south
of the Park and there were three more RHWPs. So that was 7 Red-headed
Woodpecker in an area of about 5 blocks. I have never seen a Coopers Hawk
or Sharp-shinned Hawk in this area. No one feeds birds in Opelousas.

By contrast, I have found only 1 RHWP in St Martin Parish in 5 years of
fairly intensive birding there.

John Romano
Breaux Bridge and Opelousas

On Wed, Mar 1, 2017 at 4:47 PM, James V Remsen <najames...> wrote:

> LABIRD: another paper in the most recent Ornithological Applications
> (Condor) is also relevant to Louisiana birds.
> Red-headed Woodpeckers have been declining in Louisiana for a long time.
> Lowery (1974) stated that it was once one of our commonest woodpeckers but
> that it had declined dramatically, almost certainly due to Starling
> competition for nest sites. The BBS data (beginning in 1960s) for
> Louisiana show strong declines statewide (except for western tier of
> parishes); most of that decline is post-Lowery 1974. The CBC data, which
> includes our substantial wintering population, actually show what looks
> like a slight increase from 1970 through ca. 1990 followed by a steady but
> slight decline through the present.
> The new paper is below. The take-home message is of the 4 hypotheses
> examined, increasing populations of accipiters, mainly Cooper’s Hawk, best
> explain the over all decline.
> Not mentioned in the paper is that one of the most likely contributors to
> the explosion in Cooper’s Hawk populations is the dramatic increase in
> populations of some of their favorite foods, i.e. suburban Mourning Dove
> populations (the Baton Rouge BBS route showed a doubling of our local
> suburban population in 25 years), Eurasian Collared-Dove, and White-winged
> Dove.
> Testing alternative hypotheses for the cause of population declines:
> The case of the Red-headed Woodpecker
> Walter D. Koenig,1,2* Eric L. Walters,3 and Paul G. Rodewald
> Corresponding author: wdk4 at<>
> The Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) has experienced
> strong population declines during the
> past 3 decades. Using North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and
> Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) data, we
> investigated 4 hypotheses that may explain this decline, including: (1)
> interspecific competition with native Red-bellied
> Woodpeckers (Melanerpes carolinus) and nonnative European Starlings
> (Sturnus vulgaris); (2) predation by Cooper’s
> Hawks (Accipiter cooperii) and Sharp-shinned Hawks (Accipiter striatus);
> (3) climate change; and (4) changes in forested
> area within their range. In analyses of both the breeding and
> overwintering periods, our results indicated a role of
> increased accipiter populations in driving Red-headed Woodpecker declines
> through increased predation. We also
> found evidence for significant effects of warmer winter temperatures and
> increased forest cover, both directly and
> indirectly through their effects on enhancing accipiter populations. In
> contrast, our results failed to support the
> hypothesis that interspecific competition with either Red-bellied
> Woodpeckers or European Starlings has played a role
> in Red-headed Woodpecker declines. Despite considerable evidence for
> nest-site competition and aggression between
> Red-headed Woodpeckers and both Red-bellied Woodpeckers and European
> Starlings, these interactions do not
> appear to be limiting Red-headed Woodpecker populations
> =================
> Dr. J. V. Remsen
> Prof. of Natural Science and Curator of Birds
> Museum of Natural Science/Dept. Biological Sciences
> LSU, Baton Rouge, LA 70803
> najames<at><>
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