Birds of the Western Slope Mar. 7, 2018

By Evelyn Horn

Birds of the Western Slope Mar. 7, 2018 | Birds of the Western Slope, Evelyn Horn

Photo by Bill Schmoker© Lewis's woodpecker, Baca County, August 2002.

Lewis's Woodpecker

Snow. Well, I know that they need it in the high country and we'll need it in the low country come summer. But I can hear the wind whistling around the corners of the house and I really wish for spring. The reservoir was mostly open water a couple of days ago, but it was mostly ice yesterday.

I look out the back window and there's a bird. Scrub jay? I don't think he is happy because the "Little Bosque" is much too small. I go to the dining room windows and here is another bird. It's Lewis's woodpecker. And he is not happy! I found the picture on Bill Schmoker's website and maybe my Lewis's is looking for some green leaves -- sorry, but they're all gone! Taking the trees down has been MUCH too hard!

And our Lewis's isn't finding any leaves! It's snowing again and he is squawking or at least his bill is open. Where's my tree? He hops around the left hand side of The Stump ... now the lower part. He takes flight into his display and lands back where he began. More stomping and squawking and another display flight. How sad.

He finally gives up and flies across the road to disappear into the neighbor's tall trees.

My favorite bird (the one you happen to be looking at) is the Lewis's. Rather than the usual patterned back and wings of woodpeckers, Lewis's woodpeckers have a solid greenish black back, wings and head plus a dark face and an unusual pinkish belly. They can be seen regularly in the Surface Creek Valley but are considered uncommon birds in most locations. Their habits are unusual too: minimal nest excavation, communal nesting, hawking and hoarding on a regular basis, perching on wires and territorial displays to the extreme. Other birds dare not enter: flickers and downy woodpecker, nuthatch and titmouse, or any bird that "walks" on trees. Other birds are considered to be intruders such as the scrub jay, doves, or robin.