2019  by Joseph Youngman and Phil Quenzi

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.    

Aerial photo of the "Baraga Bump" fire in 2007

To the right is a female Black-backed and the male is below.

A male is bringing some food to the nest for young.

Then he takes off for more foraging.

To right and below are two different young Black-backs -almost ready to leave the nest.