Monday, October 26, 2009

Lewis's Woodpecker

LEWIS'S WOODPECKER  was named for Merriweather Lewis whom you all probably remember from fifth grade social studies and 'Lewis' of Lewis and Clark fame. He surveyed much of the western part of the United States which was later bought as part of the Louisiana Purchase. This woodpecker was sitting atop a utility pole, drilling happily away for insects. The pole was next to a railroad track where I was walking as I waited for my son and husband to jump from a 7,650 foot cliff. Yes, you read that right. They were going paragliding (more on that later) while in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
I had never seen one of these birds before. In fact, I'd never even heard of them! They are a strictly western bird ranging from Canada into Mexico at the farthest ends of their range. With our common, Northern Flicker they share the feeding habit of hawking insects from the air while in flight. They are not endangered, but their habitats are dwindling because the areas they inhabit are being broken up by development into islands rather than a long, north to south corridors. They are quite large, about 10 inches long or tall, if you will. This one provided an effective diversion for me as I waited for my son and husband to leap to their possible deaths.
If you want to go really nuts and look up more information about them, try these links. Thanks to Wikipedia for the information I provided above.

3 comments:

  1. Wow! I'm blown away. I've never heard of this bird and I can't imagine how he got here. Very cool!

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  2. OK, Colorado. I was going to say that I have never seen or heard of this bird here in the east. Great catch.

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  3. Thanks, Ed and Robin! And more to come...........!

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