While birding my lunch-hour patch, I saw a Northern Flicker and it struck me that I hadn't seen one in awhile. My trusty eBird records confirmed that I hadn't reported one from my patch since the first week of May. Where have they been these last couple months?
Even in my yard, our Downy Woodpecker (that was such regular visitor that my 4-year-old named her "Elizabeth") has been missing for a few weeks until just a couple days ago. Where had she been?
My theory - before looking at any eBird information - is that the woodpeckers escape the heat of the valley floor and head for the coolness of the wooded hills and mountains.
eBird abundance charts indicate lower observations in the month of July. But, is that just because birders are birding less? Looking at eBird sightings maps on a month-by-month for the Boise and Salt Lake areas also shows fewer sightings of woodpeckers in the summer months.
I would be interested in seeing eBird data that could be sorted by elevation above sea level. That might yield more clues about where birds are going during the changing seasons. eBird used to have the option to enter elevation, but I don't see it any more. I know mapping software is now so good that elevations for pretty much any point on a map can be obtained, so maybe it is no longer necessary to ask birders to enter their best guesses as to their altitude when observing birds.
What has been your experience with woodpecker seasonal disappearance where you live? Do you have any thoughts or theories? ...or absolute scientific knowledge?