[tn-bird] Re: Red-headed Woodpeckers

  • From: James Brooks <comeback@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2002 06:56:19 -0400

Actually the Bowmantown Red-headed Woodpeckers have been around for at 
least 15 years, and have regularly been reported on counts including 
Washington County.

They were originally reported in a wood lot next to the old Bowmantown 
School, but gentrification of the landscape led to cutting of the woods. 
They next moved into the lighting poles for the ball field at the 
Bowmantown School, leading the bulb replacement people to declare it was 
unsafe to go up poles weakened by RHWO nesting activity. This led to 
replacement of the poles. I argued at the time with county commissioners 
that they should leave the old poles standing beside the new ones so the 
woodpeckers could continue to nest there (preferring of course the old, 
easy-to-drill poles, and thereby protecting the new ones). Of course 
this wouldn't look as neat and clean as they wished for the ball fields, 
so the old poles are removed.

I'm thrilled to hear the birds have re-nested in the Bowmantown 
wetlands, less than a mile away. This area was purchased by TWRA with 
money ear-marked for wetlands acquisition and is managed by them. They 
have erected a shelter on the site that appears to be made more for 
instructional than picnicking purposes and is one of the quiet secrets 
for birders in this area.

Another family of Red-headed Woodpeckers used to nest in the sycamores 
along  Little Limestone Creek at the end of the road that goes by the 
Westview Ponds. This area has since been sold off and the site, which 
also included Warbling Vireo nests has been gated off. Another grouchy 
owner will actually run birders off who bird the ponds (now pond) from 
the road.

Another victim of the Bowmantown School area gentrification was Summer 
Tanagers, that formerly summered (and I assume nested) there, but which 
I haven't seen or heard for at least 5 years.

The loss of birding sites on private land in Washington County has been 
almost 100 percent in the past 15 years. Fortunately the State of 
Tennessee has spared this county from the establishment of a state park 
and the attendant user fees of $3.50 for any birder who chooses to pull 
up and do a quick scan of lands actually owned by himself and all other 

Personally I think it's time the people took back their parks from the 
state, but that's another rant.

James Brooks
Jonesborough, TN

W. Kelly Roy wrote:

>I take it from the name of the area (Bomantown Wetlands) that there is 
>standing water nearby - a frequent characteristic of RHWO nest sites.  I'm 
>curious if there is evidence of beaver or southern pine beetle activity in 
>the area?  I think it is probably safe to say that Doug was witness to 
>brood-rearing, rather than caching activity.  Congratulations to Doug on 
>his red-headed woodpecker find and for reporting it here first(?)!!!
>W. Kelly Roy
>Knoxville TN
>At 11:25 AM 7/29/02 -0400, you wrote:

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