While the Florida distribution of the red-headed woodpecker is patchy, they seem to like the pine flatwoods at Deer Prairie Creek.
I was able to photograph, and admire, this one just before the rain. This medium-sized, colorful woodpecker was hammering away at the pine bark for insects. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes the red-headed woodpecker this way: “The gorgeous Red-headed Woodpecker is so boldly patterned it’s been called a ‘flying checkerboard,’ with an entirely crimson head, a snow-white body, and half white, half inky black wings.” Besides extracting insects from pines, these woodpeckers are also adept at catching insects in air, unlike most other woodpeckers.
And while this woodpecker is colorful when perched, it is one of the most beautiful birds in flight, even captured in low light against the drab pre-rain clouds. The 6,439-acre Deer Prairie Creek preserve stretches from I-75 to U.S. 41 west of North Port.