"Knock, knock, who's there?" The red-headed woodpecker. Listen for their loud call, "kweeer." Often you'll hear the soft knocking sound of this bird as it drills holes in trees in search of insects. Woodpeckers all have incredibly long tongues with a bristly tip that helps them probe holes for insects. What most people don't know is, that this woodpecker with the bright red head also eats fruits and nuts and catches flies in flight. If you look carefully, you might even find their strange stashes of food--dead grasshoppers stuffed into crevices on fence posts or nuts hidden in knotholes in the side of a house, barn, or other building.
Wisconsin has many types of woodpeckers and other tree-climbers which means you'll have to look closely to identify this bird. The red head is a giveaway. Look for the head first and be sure it is all red, right down to the neck. Other woodpeckers have red on their heads, but not this much. The red-headed woodpecker's body is black along the back of the shoulders and tips of the wings and tail. The lower wings and rump and entire belly are white. Other woodpeckers have black and white bodies, but their color is a dotted or striped pattern. Red-heads, like most woodpeckers, also have four toes that grip with two in the front and two in the back, making an "X" shape when gripping to the bark on the side of a tree. Their tails also help them keep balance as they hammer on the trees. Look for a woodpecker that measures about 7-10 inches long.
Woodpeckers like to fly alone or in small flocks and fly in a wavy pattern winging up and gliding down. Red-headed woodpeckers live in the eastern 2/3 of the lower 48 states in open woods, groves, and swamps with dead trees.