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lehrski

Which woodpecker

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When I was running a forested trail today, I accidentally scared off a beautiful woodpecker so I couldn't get a picture. It was completely black with no markings and a bright red head. I've never really identified birds before and I'm not having much luck with the app. I live in central California near the coast but it's hot/dry. It was bigger than a robin, but quite a bit smaller than a crow.

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Thanks all! The head and top of the breast were completely red so I don't think it was Lewis's Woodpecker. The red-breasted sapsucker looks about right in size, head shape, beak, etc. The only thing is that I didn't see a white stripe on it's wing. Mind you, I only saw it briefly as I came around a corner and thought "cool bird pecking holes".

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8 hours ago, lehrski said:

Thanks all! The head and top of the breast were completely red so I don't think it was Lewis's Woodpecker. The red-breasted sapsucker looks about right in size, head shape, beak, etc. The only thing is that I didn't see a white stripe on it's wing. Mind you, I only saw it briefly as I came around a corner and thought "cool bird pecking holes".

That sounds right then! The white stripe is often not very obvious. 

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12 hours ago, lehrski said:

Thanks all! The head and top of the breast were completely red so I don't think it was Lewis's Woodpecker. The red-breasted sapsucker looks about right in size, head shape, beak, etc. The only thing is that I didn't see a white stripe on it's wing. Mind you, I only saw it briefly as I came around a corner and thought "cool bird pecking holes".

If you can find the tree again, look for a row of small, shallow holes.  Sapsuckers don't drill deep.  Also, the bird may come back to gather sap and the insects that get stuck in it.

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I run that trail a lot and have seen trees with row(s) of shallow holes. Yay - my first bird  (well other than robins and crows).

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Could it have been a red headed woodpecker? I know they don't live in California, but it seems to fit the description.

 

Edited by Alice Miller

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