Title

Seasonal variation in acoustic signals of Pileated Woodpeckers

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2008

Publication Title

Wilson Journal of Ornithology

Volume

120

Issue

3

First Page

499

Last Page

504

DOI

10.1676/07-137.1

Abstract

We used remote recorders to document temporal variation in acoustic signals of a population of Pileated Woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus) along the Choctawhatchee River in the Florida Panhandle, sampling seven different locations for 24 hrs once a week between mid January and mid April 2006. We found significant seasonal variation in the drumming behavior and vocal behavior of Pileated Woodpeckers. Drumming behavior peaked in mid March, just prior to onset of breeding activities. The three primary long-distance Pileated Woodpecker vocalizations, the cackle call, the wuk series call, and the wok call had similar patterns of seasonal variation. All four acoustic signals declined to low levels by early April when birds were nesting. The seasonal pattern of variation for all four Pileated Woodpecker acoustic signals had a similar pattern to that observed for song in many temperate passerines, and support the hypothesis that woodpecker calls and drumming displays are the functional counterparts to passerine song.

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