It took me 3 years and 12 days to make an image of the Red-headed Woodpecker again here in our neck of the woods. Today I finally saw an adult at a tree trunk, eying one of our suet feeders. At this time of the year the camera with long lens is always mounted on the tripod and ready to be used immediately. I didn’t get the shots the first time but the woodpecker came back a couple more times. The light was changing constantly from bright sun to slight overcast and back, and my index finger was switching between the button for exposure compensation and the shutter release all the time.

The Red-headed Woodpecker is supposed to be in our part of Iowa all-season but we have seen it only in May for short periods of time, the last time in 2013. All of the sources I use for identification and education about birds report a severe decline in the past half-century because of habitat loss and changes to its food supply. The good thing is, within the last two months we have seen all seven woodpecker species we had recorded before here on the bluffs above the Little Maquoketa River.