Lewis’s Woodpecker at Maplewood

Two juvenile Lewis’s woodpecker made a rare appearance at Maplewood Flats last week. Typically this species is normally found in the Southern interior of the province where it is present during the breeding season. According to the sightings board at the entrance they were first spotted on the 31st August. I first saw them on the 3rd September and was able to see them again on the 4th; however, I could not locate them on the 7th. I located the pair near Osprey Point at the Southeast corner of the property. I was able to watch them catch several flying insects and one of them ate several berries.

Lewis’s Woodpecker will typically form loose and nomadic flocks of adults and juveniles in late Summer and early Fall and it is during this time that birds will depart from the Northernmost portion of their range (i.e. BC) (Tobalske and Bret 1997).

The species may have declined by as much as 60% since the 1960s according to Breeding Bird Survey and Christmas Bird Count; however, due to the bird’s irregular nature and the small sample size of BBS and CBC data these results should be interpreted with care (Tobalske and Bret 1997). The IUCN lists the status of the species as “Least Concern” (Birdlife International 2008). The biggest threat facing Lewis’s Woodpecker is habitat destruction particularly the loss of “standing, dead or partly dead trees (snags) in advanced stages of decay for nest sites; and old cottonwood trees or power poles with desiccation cracks for winter storage sites” (Tobalske and Bret 1997).It used to breed in the Vancouver area, but not since 1940 (Siddle and Davidson 1991); possibly due to habitat loss as a result of development?

Paul (revs) has posted some excellent photos of the pair at Maplewood on the Birding in BC forums (http://birding.bc.ca/community/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=3480&p=16132).


Tobalske, Bret W. 1997. Lewis’s Woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/bna/species/284

BirdLife International 2008. Melanerpes lewis. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 10 September 2009.

Siddle, C. and G. Davidson. 1991. Status of the Lewis’s Woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis) in British Columbia. Report commissioned by Wildlife Branch, Ministry of Environment, Victoria, British Columbia.


1 Response to “Lewis’s Woodpecker at Maplewood”

  1. 1 eye cancer Trackback on February 23, 2015 at 7:58 am

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