Woodpeckers can coexist in suburbs with housing development

Pileated woodpeckers can coexist with development in the suburbs of Seattle. ©cuatrok77

Pileated woodpeckers (Hylatomus pileatus) may be losing standing dead trees and other important resources due to development, but as long as tree cover remains above a certain threshold, they can still do well, according to new research. Researchers trapped and radio tagged 16 pileated woodpeckers at nine sites with different degrees of urbanization in the suburbs of Seattle. After tracking the birds for a year, they found the woodpeckers used forested areas including parks, and surprisingly, also used lightly and moderately urbanized areas where some trees still existed. In these areas, they took advantage of resources such as backyard feeders. The team concluded that keeping at least 20 percent forest cover, including standing dead trees, in suburban areas can help pileated woodpeckers thrive.

Check out the Condor: Ornithological Applications study here.