The red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythocephalus) was once a very common woodpecker. These birds fly to catch insects in the air or on the ground, forage on trees or gather and store nuts. They are omnivorous, eating insects, seeds, fruits, berries, nuts, and occasionally even the eggs of other birds. In the mid-1800s, John James Audubon stated that the red-headed woodpecker was the most common woodpecker in North America. He called them semi-domesticated because they weren’t afraid of people. He stated that they were camp robbers and also a pest. According to Audubon Society, Christmas Bird Count data, between the 1950s and the year 2010, the population of red-headed woodpeckers dropped dramatically. Over 80 percent of the population died out in just over 50 years. Currently we continue to lose approximately 2 percent each year. That means within a couple decades we could see this bird become extinct if the trend continues.
Sources: Chaska Herald, August 14 2017