Skip navigation

Category Archives: woodpeckers

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.

Remember the long warm days of summer? Night skies full of endless stars and a comet too? T shirts, shorts and sandals? Oh yeah. This is the time of winter when it seems that summer will never come. Living under pandemic rules for nearly a year, making each day seem more or less the same, doesn’t help. Well, here’s a memory of summer.

Lewis’s Woodpeckers nested on our hill last year. It was a first for us. The dead trees that burned in 2014 must have finally reached the point of good rot for easy cavity excavating. There were probably four of the colorful woodpeckers but I never saw more than three at a time. There were at least two different cavities that were in use. I photographed them over the course of a couple of days in July til I got distracted by the comet and camping activities. Just yesterday I finally got round to processing those images. There were over 400!

I think it’s worth it to click through all of the images to enjoy the colors and movements of the Lewis’s Woodpeckers. They are an exotic looking bird for this part of the world.

 

%d bloggers like this: