Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2004-45a

Common name:

Red-headed Woodpecker

Scientific name: Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Date: December 27, 2004
Time: 12:30 PM
Length of time observed: 5-10 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Unknown
Location: Wilson's Peach and Pecan Farms, west of Hurricane, Utah
County: Washington
Latilong: Not sure
Elevation: Plus or minus 3,000 ft.
Distance to bird: 30-50 yards
Optical equipment: 10 x 50 Bushnell binoculars, plus six other binoculars of assorted makes and powers.
Weather: Overcast and cool
Light Conditions: Clear, sufficient
Detailed description of bird: Head was all red. Back, primary wing feathers and tail were black.
Chest, belly and secondary wing feathers were clear white.
Size was between Downy Woodpecker and a Northern Flicker.
Perched on a telephone pole in an upright position like a woodpecker normally perches. When it flew the striking black and white wing pattern
was most noticeable, and when it perched the red head was very obvious.
I heard a single call that sounded like "keeah".
(See Photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: Already mentioned abov
Behavior: Flying through the trees to perch upright on the trunk of a tree. Then flying to a telephone pole where it perched in an upright position.
Habitat: Pecan orchard.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
There is no woodpecker species that resembles this woodpecker. I recognized it the moment I saw it fly away from us.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Have seen this woodpecker twice before out in the Uintah Basin of Utah, and also in Nebraska.
References consulted: Sibley's guide to Birds of Western North America.
Description from: From memory
Observer: Merrill Webb
Observer's address: 1063 East 400 North Orem, Utah 84097
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Hugh Baird, Jan Passek, (National Park employee at Zion), Bob and June Childs (Bob is a retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist from Portland, Oregon who was helping with the Silver Reef CBC), his son Bruce Childs (National Park employee at Bryce Canyon) and
his wife (whose name I have misplaced,) also Bryce Canyon National Park.
Date prepared: December 29, 2004   (General Public)
Additional material: Photos. Taken by another obs. in the afternoon of the same day.
Additional comments: There were three other observers later that same day, one of whom as Glen Barlow.