Spotlight on Lewis's Woodpecker
Flies like a crow, hunts like a flycatcher, doesn't peck wood.
The not so aptly named Lewis's Woodpecker forages like a flycatcher andflies like a crow. It is unique with its pink belly, gray collar and dark greenback, and can be seen perched on bare branches and fence poststhroughout the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys.
Lewis's Woodpeckers recycle holes and cavities created by otherwoodpeckers or created naturally in dead and decaying trees (snags).They rely on open ponderosa pine forests and old cottonwood riparianforests.
The Lewis' Woodpecker finds itself on the provincial blue list and federallylisted as "threatened". This means that they are likely to becomeendangered unless we address the threats to their populations
Estimated decline of Lewis's Woodpecker populations between 1970 and 2014*
What's on the Menu ?
Spring & Summer:mainly flying insects caught during long, circling flights.
Fall & Winter:Fruits, berries and nuts are important foods in colder seasons
Overwintering birds (fairly uncommon in the Okanagan andSimilkameen) typically eat nuts they've hidden in dead snags.
Why are lewis's Woodpeckers at risk?
Felling of large, standing decaying trees (snags); these are potential nesting and perching sites.
Loss of habitat, especially open ponderosa pine woodlands and riparian forests.
Netting around vineyards could be a serious source of mortality in late summer.
Use of insecticides in orchards and gardens may reduce insect population.
Competition with European Starlings for nest sites Fire supression and in-growth, resulting in dense Douglas Fir-dominated forests
You can Help!
Avoid frequent or prolonged human disturbance at nest sites during the breedingseason (May-August)
Retain open ponderosa pine forests and black cottonwood stands.
Protect known nest sites.
Maintain dead or dying standing trees especially soft, large diameter snags.
Eliminate pesticide use where possible in order to maintain insect populations
Ensure agricultural netting is kept tight and monitored regularly.
*Partners in Flight