Sunday, 7 January 2018
A quick look through the BTO online ringing and nest recording report shows that around 300 to 400 Green Woodpeckers are ringed annually in Britain and Ireland. A search of our own totals in DemOn (yes, DemOn!) shows that we have ringed 42 new and retrapped 5 Green woodpeckers since 1997.
They are a green-listed bird and by no means rare around here but they are still an unfamiliar bird in the hand and therefore ageing often requires reference to the “Identification Guide to European Non-passerines” by Kevin Baker. However, when faced with single birds of unfamiliar species, it can still be tricky to interpret the descriptions and pictures in this book (unfortunately I still have an “old” copy). But occasionally you get lucky and catch a really helpful bird...
This male Green woodpecker was caught at Hazelford Island on 22 December 2017 and its mixed-age plumage shows very well the different tertial patterns described by Kevin Baker.