Sunday, March 29

Woodpecker calls

The common call of the Downy Woodpecker is a tick (with tapping, June, NJ).

This call becomes rapidly repeated in extreme agitation as at the nest-site in the presence of an intruder (begging of young heard in background, June, NJ).

The call may be given in a brief series (Mar, PA)

or be extended into the familiar whinny/rattle (Jan, PA).

(Mar, PA).

Less often heard, this call, a chrrr, was by a bird alighting on a tree. It is used in interactions between birds (Feb, PA).

A similar but a softer, perhaps less aggressive call, given here between a foraging pair (Mar, PA)

The most frequently heard call of the Hairy Woodpecker is a loud, emphatic peek (May, NJ).

The rattle of the Hairy Woodpecker does not speed up and trail off as that of the Downy does (Mar, PA).

Alarm calls followed by "dow" interaction calls between a male and female (Feb, PA).

Same calls by single bird in short flight (Feb, PA).

Squeaky wika-wika calls (Mar, PA).

(Feb, PA)

The territorial call of the Northern Flicker is a long, laughing kekekeke (Apr, PA).

A more rapid version (Mar, PA)

The most commonly heard call is keer, probably used as both a contact and an alarm call (Mar, PA).

The wika call is used in close confrontations, and is higher than that of Red-bellied Woodpeckers (Oct, PA).

In this example, it was several birds feeding on poison ivy berries (Oct, NJ).

Another sound of the Northern Flicker is the so-called whurdle call, a soft vocalization that appears to be an alarm call. In this example, the perched male whurdled once when a Merlin alighted just above it, then called keer a number of times, and then uttered another whurdle when the Merlin left (Mar, PA).

keer and whurdle

This is another example of the whurdle call, by a bird in flight in the pine barrens of New Jersey (June).

(July, PA)

The common contact call of the Red-bellied Woodpecker is a crrr. This was a male at a nest-hole (Apr, PA).

Rattle call. As with other rattle calls, the call is commonly heard but is generated singly and at widely spaced intervals (Jan, PA).

In this case though, a juvenile gave the call persistently (Aug, PA).

Compare with the slightly higher Hairy Woodpecker rattle (Feb, NJ)

Another frequently heard call is the cow call (June, NJ).

This call serves as the alarm call, here being given at the nest-site in response to a nearby singing European Starling. Starlings steal nest holes from Red-bellied Woodpeckers. Calls speed up when the woodpecker flew at the starling, as at 9 and 36s (Apr, PA).

A cow call followed by shorter,doubled ca-ca calls (bird taking flight, with Golden-crowned Kinglet, Apr, PA).

Ca-ca flight calls, followed by cow calls after alighting (Eastern Chipmunk calling, Oct, PA).

The grr and wika calls of the Red-bellied Woodpecker are heard in close interactions (Mar, PA)

This recording is of a male tapping inside a nest hole, followed by various calls as two more birds arrive, which precipitated an interaction with raised wings, grr and wika calls begin at about 36s (Mar, PA).



Grr and wika calls, with two birds interlocking and spiralling in midair at 13 and 57s (Apr, PA).

Red-headed Woodpecker (May, NJ), note the similarity to the crr call of the Red-bellied Woodpecker (short drum at end, and Great Crested Flycatcher calling).

Short raspy calls, similar to the ca-ca flight call of Red-bellied Woodpecker (Oct, PA).

Longer raspy calls by adult, similar to the grr calls of Red-bellied Woodpecker (Oct, PA).

Raspy calls by adult; interaction with an immature at 31s (Red-bellied Woodpecker at 24s, Oct, PA)

Contact calls by immature bird (Oct, PA)

Same calls rapidly given.

Gray Treefrogs can sound similar (Apr, NJ).

The call of the Pileated Woodpecker is a cu-cu-cu-cu, lower and often less regular than that of the Northern Flicker (Oct, PA).

This is a more excited example of a bird surprised by a Cooper's Hawk (Feb, PA).

The territorial call is rapid and rises and falls (June, DE).

Recently fledged birds have a higher call (June, DE).

Waa calls by two birds interacting at the base of a tree (Oct, PA).

Various calls by a family of Pileated Woodpeckers, including waa (wika) calls and quiet begging calls after 40s (June, DE).


This female called without a break for over ten minutes from a tree top (Sep, PA)

The call of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a cat-like mew (immature at dawn, Dec, PA)). Cooper's Hawk can sound similar (and Blue Jays often mimic Cooper's Hawks).

Cooper's Hawk (Oct, PA)

When excited the calls are shorter and more grating (Nov, PA).

Interaction calls between two birds fighting over sap holes (migrants, Oct, PA).

Quiet interaction calls between three juveniles on a maple tree (Oct, PA).

Young calling from a nest-hole with adult alarm call, which sounds similar to Red-bellied Woodpecker (July, ME).

The common call of the Three-toed Woodpecker is similar to the tik of the Downy Woodpecker but lower. Male foraging on a burnt tree (June, AK).

Red-cockaded Woodpeckers travel in noisy groups often with other birds in tow, and are found in open longleaf pine woods in the southeastern US. These recordings were made in the Croatan State Forest, NC.
clear peek (Feb, NC)

rough peek (Feb, NC)

Wika (April, NC)

Twitter at 23s was around the time of mating between two birds (April, NC)

Several calls (Feb, NC)

soft whit at 3s

call at 7s

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