Date: 10/5/17 10:35 am From: Ryan Brady <ryanbrady10...> Subject: [wisb] Black-backed Woodpeckers on the move
This morning I had another Black-backed Woodpecker fly by my house amid a larger landbird flight, marking the 3rd I've had here since Sept 12 after none in the previous eight years of living at this residence. All have been moving south in concert with other migrants, only one of them stopping briefly. Thankfully they vocalize frequently while in flight and are fairly easy to detect if within earshot.
My house aside, larger numbers have been moving down Minnesota's north shore since late August. Hawk Ridge is getting several daily, as are observers closer to shore there. Incredibly, outstanding birder Tom Reed tallied 25 in just two mornings last week as they moved south over Stoney Point, which is north of Duluth toward Two Harbors.
I don't think anyone has good ideas as to why the uptick in numbers, if they will keep coming, or what the influx will translate to this winter. Time will tell but for now everyone birding the northern half of the state should be on the lookout. Lowland conifer bogs, dying upland spruce, and recently burned conifers are often preferred but they can be fairly general in their forest habitat selection.