Copper Country Audubon
Black-backed Woodpeckers on the Baraga Plains
The Baraga Plains is an extensive jack pine area SW of L'Anse, Michigan. In the spring of 2007 a 'controlled' burn got away from its managers and burned over 1000 acres. In late 2007 I started to investigate the burn area and was impressed with how many Black-backed Woodpeckers were in there. It shouldn't have been too surprising, Black-backs are known fire specialists that thrive in burned pine forests. Beginning in fall of 2007 and extending through the fall of 2008 I spent hundreds of hours exploring the burned landscape and watching the Black-backs. It turned out that these birds were doing VERY well. No one had documented so many Black-backs nesting in so small an area. So with lots of help from Zach Gayk an article was published in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology.