Wild Wednesdays: Red-bellied Woodpecker
This is the first in a series of Wild Wednesday newsroom stories that will feature animal or plant species that inhabit the conservation parks and preserves of Hillsborough County. All featured species are protected at some level by the state or federal government.
Many of Hillsborough County's conservation parks and preserves are home to the red-bellied woodpecker. A bird primarily of the southeast, it favors forested areas along rivers and in swamps, but adapts easily to suburbs and city parks. Some of the best places to see them are Wilderness Park, Lettuce Lake Park, Alderman's Ford Park, Lithia Springs Park, Upper Tampa Bay Park, Blackwater Creek Preserve, Lower Green Swamp Preserve, and the Fish Hawk Preserve.
Did you know red-bellied woodpeckers:
- Are one of the few species of woodpeckers that cache their food supply
- Lose more than 50% of their nests to the more aggressive European starling
- Has sticky saliva that helps catch prey with its tongue when probing deep crevices
- Abandoned nesting cavities are used by owls, bluebirds, ducks, and swallows
- Males do most of the work excavating the nesting cavities
Capture Hillsborough County's natural beauty and share your sightings with us #WildWednesday