In a first for the Island, a pileated woodpecker has been spotted on Martha’s Vineyard, causing excitement among bird watchers here. The sighting between the Tisbury park and ride and Hillside Village area of Vineyard Haven was confirmed by Island birders after a picture was taken with a cell phone.

“It was a blurry image but of sufficient quality to confirm the first official sighting,” Gazette bird columnist Robert Culbert said Tuesday.

Mr. Culbert said the person who saw the bird and took the photograph wishes to remain anonymous.

The pileated woodpecker is a large bird, about the size of a crow, with a bright red crest, and needs large trees to sustain it. The species is common in western Massachusetts but in recent years has moved eastward.

“The species has spread eastward as the forests mature into suitable habitat,” Mr. Culbert said. “It has been sighted in Wareham but not the Cape.”

Mr. Culbert said numerous birders had descended in the area of the sighting but so far there has not been a second sighting.

“You would think that a crow-sized bird with a loud, high, clear series of piping calls lasting maybe five seconds would be easy to detect. Unfortunately, such is not the case,” Mr. Culbert said. “To use a cliche, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack, even though this needle is much bigger.”

Mr. Culbert said he would see and hear pileated woodpeckers while growing up in Ohio. In addition to their large size, they make a considerable noise when hammering away at a tree.

“They can destroy a tree stump in a couple of days,” he said.

As to why the bird showed up now, Mr. Culbert couldn’t say for sure, adding that they are not supposed to like flying over water.

“But great horned owls and tufted titmouse aren’t known for flying over water either, but they are here,” he said.

Mr. Culbert estimated there are roughly 400 avian species on the Vineyard. Bird-watchers, both expert and amateur, email their sightings to the Gazette bird news every week.

“The last new species added was the black-whiskered vireo seen by Ken Magnuson and others last year on April 21,” Mr. Culbert said. “The species added before that was the common raven, first reported by Adam Burnett.”

Mr. Culbert urged anyone who spots the pileated woodpecker to report the sighting to