Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lewis' Woodpecker/Favorite Bird?

In class the other day my students asked what my favorite bird was. I think this is a fairly common question asked to birders and when I get it I usually qualify my answer by saying how tough that question is and how I really don't have a favorite bird, etc... But for some reason when they asked me I answered without much hesitation, Lewis' Woodpecker.

The easiest and closest place to see Lewis' Woodpecker from Kansas is Carrizo Canyon
in southeast Colorado. There can be no migration, no birds at all and you will still see a dark woodpecker flying across the canyon between oaks and cottonwoods. I love watching them flycatch from the tops of cottonwoods. They are just beautiful birds and they are also somewhat rare. Their distribution is patchy and they seem to be on the decline. They also don't look like a woodpecker! They look like a crow more than a woodpecker. Their black backs are a glossy blue-green-purple-black color which truly defies description. Plus they are named after Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame! I'm a sucker for history of the west and add onto that history of birds/birders and I am hooked.

Here is a pic and video I took while in Colorado. It doesn't do the bird justice, but it is the bird I sat and watched for nearly an hour.


You can read Lewis' account of the bird here.

So put the gorgeous Carrizo Canyon together with the equally outstanding Lewis' Woodpecker and you have my favorite bird! At least for now!

6 comments:

kayleen said...

I always cringe when someone asks me what my favorite bird is. My present answer is the last one I saw...

I believe you said you were looking for midwest birding blogs. Here's another one from .

Love your pictures from your trip...

kayleen said...

Aw crap, I screwed up the html..

a birding blog from

kayleen said...

Well, it's not letting me post it right...

The link in the first post is a birding blog from nebraska!

Larry said...

It's interesting to see birds like this that aren't around my area.-I've never traveled much-but one of these days..

cogresha said...

Thanks Kayleen. I'll check it out.

Larry -- That's why I like looking at birding blogs. You get to see other people birding in completely different areas of the world, not just pictures and species lists, but something more in depth and personal.

Mike said...

That is an amazing bird, Cogresha. I haven't visited the right habitat to spot this beauty yet, but I'm looking forward to finally spotting one.