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Range Expansion of the Pileated Woodpecker in North Dakota

Jill A. Dechant


Abstract: Natural history writings from explorers such as M. Lewis, W. Clark, J. J. Audubon, S. F. Baird, and E. Coues failed to mention the pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) in North Dakota throughout the 1800's. The first published reference to the species was in the early 1900's in the valley of the Red River of the North, part of the Agassiz Lake Plain of eastern North Dakota. Sightings increased in the Agassiz Lake Plain in the mid-1900's but remained rare west of the Agassiz Lake Plain until the late 1900's. Ornithologists suggest that the species has recently established small, permanent populations in the Turtle Mountains, Devils Lake area, and along the Sheyenne River, especially in the Sheyenne National Grassland. I present information that supports the idea that the pileated woodpecker is establishing populations in the aforementioned areas and is moving even farther west. I also document the presence of the pileated woodpecker along the James River and the first record for Stutsman County.

Key words: Dryocopus pileatus, North Dakota, pileated woodpecker, range expansion.


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Acknowledgments

I thank Gordon Berkey, Norma Doppler, Lawrence Igl, Gregg Knutsen, George Kalis, Gary Krapu, Randy Kreil, Armand Lagasse, David Lambeth, Jean Legge, Darla Lenz, Ron Martin, Will Meeks, Gary Nielsen, Robert O'Connor, Dennis Pederson, Gail Pederson, Bob Randall, John Sauer, Paulette Scherr, Kevin Sedivec, Neil Shook, and Bryan Stotts for providing information about pileated woodpecker sightings. Thanks also are extended to Gordon Berkey, Douglas Johnson, Ronald Kirby, Stephen Magill, Ron Martin, Rochelle Renken, Terry Shaffer, Maiken Winter, and an anonymous reviewer for reviewing the manuscript, and to Robert Gleason and Betty Euliss for making graphs and maps, Tom Sklebar for providing technical information, and Bruce Hanson for aiding in plant identification around Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center grounds.


This resource is based on the following resource (Northern Prairie Publication 1168):

Dechant, Jill A.  2001.  Range expansion of the pileated woodpecker in North Dakota.  Prairie Naturalist 33(3):163-182.

This resource should be cited as:

Dechant, Jill A.  2001.  Range expansion of the pileated woodpecker in North Dakota.  Prairie Naturalist 33(3):163-182.  Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/pwprange/index.htm  (Version 12AUG2004).


Jill A. Dechant, U.S. Geological Survey, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, 8711 37th St. SE, Jamestown, ND 58401


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