Saturday, April 14, 2007

woo-hoo! Rare yard bird alert!

I have a female black-backed woodpecker in the woods near my house! Sorry, no photo, at least not yet. She's fairly tolerant of human activity, but as soon as I get my camera out she hides behind a tree.

Black backed woodpeckers are a species of boreal spruce forests. Sand Creek is at about the southern limit of their usual range. They forage for insects under tree bark by picking off the outer layer of bark, which is why I thought these tamaracks may have been visited by one. When we first moved here, I saw a male black backed woodpecker in our dead spruce by the house. I thought I saw one last fall, but I wasn't sure.

I saw the female this morning as I was walking up the path to the cabin, having had to park my car out front due to the mud factor. I heard a tapping, and scanned the pines for what I thought was probably a hairy woodpecker. Then I looked down and found it on a large white pine bough that had fallen about a year ago. I just happened to have the binoculars in my hands (how often does that happen?) and it gave me a good chance to look before it flew up into a nearby pine. I knew immediately it wasn't a Hairy, because its back was solid, glossy black.

This is the fallen bough, which has had much of its bark picked off. This woodpecker has been around a while! I am hoping there's a male lurking somewhere nearby.

1 comment:

Larry said...

Excellent bird but I'm afraid it's too far away for me to twitch it.