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We are happy to see these colorful birds back to nest in our dead trees. This is the second year we have observed them nesting here. This particular bird was perched on a snag in front of our house, surveying its surroundings and being harassed by a Tree Swallow. The swallows normally use that perch and they were not happy to have this woodpecker in their space.

All About Birds has this to say about the Lewis’s Woodpecker: The Lewis’s Woodpecker might have woodpecker in its name, but it forages like a flycatcher and flies like a crow. It has a color palette all its own, with a pink belly, gray collar, and dark green back unlike any other member of its family. From bare branches and posts, it grabs insects in midair, flying with slow and deep wingbeats. It calls open pine forests, woodlands, and burned forests home, but it often wanders around nomadically outside of the breeding season in search of nuts. Lewis’s Woodpeckers nest mainly in holes and crevices created by other woodpeckers or created naturally in dead and decaying trees (snags). They nest in cottonwood, ponderosa pine, paper birch, white pine, and other trees that are starting to decay. On occasion they nest in live trees. Lewis’s Woodpeckers are uncommon and their populations declined by 72% between 1970 and 2014, according to Partners in Flight

They are beautiful birds, iridescent in the sunshine with colors that seem out of place in a burned forest. Once the woodpecker gave up its perch, the Tree Swallow moved right back.

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