Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus
St. Jacobs, Ontario
26 January 2013
The Red-bellied Woodpecker has the most restricted range of all Ontario woodpeckers and was formerly extremely rare in Waterloo County. The recent Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario states "The probability of observation of the Red-bellied Woodpecker increased significantly by about 250% in the province as a whole from the first to the second atlas." Although hardly classified as common in this area it is no longer an unexpected sighting, but always a great source of delight. This individual had been feeding on corn cobs hung in a tree in front of a Mennonite farmer's house and a kernel is visible in its beak. It was our good fortune to watch this bird for several minutes. No doubt backyard feeders have contributed to this species' ability to spend the winter at this latitude.