2018 50¢ Birds in Winter: Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Value: 50¢ 1-ounce First-Class Rate (Forever)
Issue Date: September 22, 2018
First Day City: Quechee, VT
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Double-sided booklet of 20
Quantity Printed: 400,000,000
The male red-bellied woodpecker is not commonly recognized by his belly. Due to almost always facing a tree, it is hard to see his front side. However, he can be identified by his beautiful black and white barred back, wings, and tail, as well as the bright red running from his bill to the nape of his neck. The female has the same barred pattern, but the red on her head is only on nape and bill.
These woodpeckers spend quite a lot of time climbing on trees (called hitching). They hop upwards using their tails to support them. Red-bellied woodpeckers use their long beaks to probe in cracks and crevices to find insects. To retrieve insects, they utilize their long tongue, which can reach up to two inches past the end of their beak.
One insect fairly new to the woodpecker's diet is the emerald ash borer – an invasive insect known to kill ash trees. The red-bellied woodpecker can remove 85% of larvae from a single infested tree. The woodpecker is far from solving the problem of the emerald ash borer, but the new food source has helped to bird to grow in number.
The red-bellied woodpeckers are not widely known, yet. However, with their numbers rapidly growing, they soon may be seen more often in backyards and at bird feeders.