Lewis's Woodpecker Photographs, Antelope Valley, Sierra-Nevada, California and Sound Recording, June 10, 2009
Photos by Greg Clark
This woodpecker is shown near the entrance to the nest cavity. Other photos later show the woodpecker in the cavity and flying out.
A big fan of burn areas, this bird has picked a large dead pine tree for the nest site. All the surrounding trees are also burned and dead. In the same tree were nesting Western Bluebird, Pygmy Nuthatch, American Kestrel, and some other cavity nesters. Both adults were busy bringing food to the nest.
Not very vocal for a woodpecker, nevertheless they can make some pretty lound sounds when they want to. The sound recording here occurs during a nest exchange. One adult has been inside with the baby woodpeckers and the other adult has arrived. As one adult leaves and the other enters, the sound recording captures the brief, but loud, vocalization from (probably) one of the adults.
The images of one of the adults looking out from the cavity and launching into flight are not as sharp as they should be, but they are the only ones were I was able to be fast enough on the cable release to catch the bird.
Play the Lewis's Woodpecker Nest Exchange Recording
This view of the adult shows more of the deep red feather color near the eyes and bill. This is a hard bird to photograph well in less-than-ideal lighting. The bird is actually lit from the side, better than back-lit, but it would have been better for photography if the birds had chosen a nest site on the south side of the tree, instead of the north side.
Photographers are always picky.
Handsome birds in any light.
So, here is one of the adults leaving the nest cavity, and below one is seen in flight.
Not too sharp, have to try for better next year.
Copyright Greg Clark, 2009