Lewis's Woodpecker

May 21, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

The 11th annual Chequamegon Bay Bird and Nature festival was held this weekend, May 18, 19, and 20th, and while the spring weather was our typical mix of cool, rainy, and windy, festival goers were out enjoying themselves and nature at it's best. Congrats to all who worked very hard to make this a successful and ever-growing festival and thanks to all who participated!

I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity earlier in the festival week to see one of the rare sightings that we get once in a while. This time our vistior was a Lewis's Woodpecker. Thanks to the wonderful homeowners who choose to share this finding with everyone!

The iridescent dark green back and the salmon-red belly of the Lewis's Woodpecker distinguishes itself from any other bird in North America. While they are quieter than other woodpeckers, they aggressively defend their food sources from other woodpeckers, especially during winter. During flight, they perform acrobatic maneuvers in pursuit of insects. I witnessed this as the bird swooped out from the top of it's favorite light pole to catch an insect in flight. They eat a variety of flying insects during the breeding season and acorns, nuts, and fruits at other times.

Alexander Wilson, the founder of North American ornithology, named this species in 1811, to honor Meriwether Lewis, because it was collected during the Lewis and Clark expedition.

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