Page 9 - May 18, 2022
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{ 8 }  SNJ Today  |  MAY 18, 2022                                                                                    MAY 18, 2022  |  { 9 }
       Would You Like To Hear                                                                      Celebrating
       the Morning Chorus?
          Sign up for a World Series of
       Birding Team guided walk on                                                   NatioNal MeNtal HealtH
       Saturday, May 21. Participants will                                                 awareNess MoNtH
       stroll the many habitats of Hansey
       Creek Road (near Dividing Creek), lis-                                                         may 2022
       tening to warblers at one of our area’s
       favorite hotspots for these neotropical
       migrants. The walk begins at 7 a.m.
          • To sign-up:
       – click on “Calendar of Events,” select May 21 and then the Green RSVP box. Free of
       charge. Or call the CU office at 856-300-5331.
          What to bring: Insect repellent, visor, good walking shoes and binoculars.

       Pictured: CU’s World Series of Birding team on Hansey Creek Road.

     other interesting habitat needs. It likes a   On my recent forest sightings these birds
     mature forest with a low understory. In   have remained mostly silent. Primarily
     southern New Jersey our pineland forests   they drum, squeak, rattle softly, or let out
     with their oak/pine canopy and blueberry/  a squeak described as a “querr.” They are
     huckleberry understory are favored. If the   capable of carrying on but in most of my
     understory grows into a higher shrub-like   encounters they have been rather stealthy.
     environment the woodpeckers generally   Still, the red-headed woodpecker is uncom-
     abandon it. A savanna-like environment of   mon and my encounters reflect that rarity.
     warm-weather grasses, sparse understory,   This is the time of year for courtship,
     and widely spaced trees is often attractive   when a male introduces a female to a
     to them as well. They inhabit both upland   number of nesting cavities and she seals
     and forested wetland. For nesting, trees   the deal by picking her favorite. She will
     must be mature enough to provide the   lay four or five eggs early in May to late
     required cavities. While widely distributed   June. Incubation is two weeks and pater-
     in the state they are few in number.   nal care lasts about a month. Adults split
        Because of their attraction to low   all parental duties from incubation to
     understory, occasionally they are found   feeding. Occasionally a pair will have two   Trained, professional staff members at
     in a shady cemetery that is free of sod but   broods in a season.
     has more natural, grassy orchards, and   Some pairs will use a nesting site over   The Guidance Center provide high-quality mental
     even in suburban parks if there are widely   the course of a number of years, presum-  health services to individuals and families using
     spaced trees and snags for nesting.   ably if the forest bounty is sufficient and
        The birds are omnivores, eating insects,   the understory remains low.       in-person visits and Telehealth teleconferencing.
     reptiles, mammals, birds, and forest mast.   Habitat loss is the species’ single great-
     Mast consists of seeds, fruit, acorns, chest-  est threat. Jane Fitzgerald of the American   Services are available in English and Spanish.
     nuts and the like. Lizards, eggs, rodents, and   Bird Conservancy, coordinator of Central
     nestlings of other birds are on the menu.   Hardwoods Joint Venture—an initiative to
     They can catch invertebrates on the wing   restore natural communities in open oak
     and cache them tightly into bark crevices   and pine-oak woodlands—described the
     to be eaten later. They are known to defend   bird’s dilemma and habitat needs well: “The
     their food reserves.                 red-headed woodpecker is the poster child
        Outside of breeding season they are   of savanna-woodland systems. It’s criti-
     primarily nomadic seekers of forest mast,   cally important that the public support the   2038 Carmel Road  n  P.O. Box 808  n  Millville, NJ 08332
     essentially travelling to find food resources.   kind of management—such as thinning and
        Like other woodpeckers they are well-  prescribed fire on ecologically appropriate    
     designed for navigating the trunks of trees   sites—needed to restore healthy popula-
     with their zygodactyl feet; their long toes   tions on both public and private lands.” n  To schedule a first-time or follow-up appointment,
     face two forward and two backward, and                                                 please call (856) 825-6810 ext. 200.
     grip the bark with dexterity. Conversely,   Sources
     passerines normally have three forward   Endangered and Threatened Wildlife of
     and backward-facing toes, designed to   New Jersey, B. Beans and L. Niles, entry     Crisis Hotline: (856) 455-5555 (available 24/7)
     wrap around branches. Waterfowl often   Sherry Liguori.
     have webbed toes for walking on muddy   American Bird Conservancy – Red-
     surfaces.                            headed Woodpecker
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