Natural history writings from explorers such as M. Lewis, W. Clark, J. J. Audubon, S. F. Baird, and E. Coues failed to mention the pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus ) in North Dakota throughout the 1800's. The first published reference to the species was in the early 1900's in the valley of the Red River of the North, part of the Agassiz Lake Plain of eastern North Dakota. Sightings increased in the Agassiz Lake Plain in the mid-1900's but remained rare west of the Agassiz Lake Plain until the late 1900's. Ornithologists suggest that the species has recently established small, permanent populations in the Turtle Mountains, Devils Lake area, and along the Sheyenne River, especially in the Sheyenne National Grassland. I present information that supports the idea that the pileated woodpecker is establishing populations in the aforementioned areas and is moving even farther west. I also document the presence of the pileated woodpecker along the James River and the first record for Stutsman County.
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Range expansion of pileated woodpecker in North Dakota