Reader Karen Bartelt sent a big batch of photos, in three parts; I’ll put up part 1 today, featuring two lovely species of woodpeckers. Her notes are indented.
We took a trip to Big Bend National Park [Texas] this February. The park is famous for an abundance of birds, especially during spring and fall migrations. We were unable to book anything for April, the big month, so we settled for an earlier trip, and used the time to acquaint ourselves with the native birds. Being from the midwest, we saw lots of birds for the first time.
Since I have so much trouble attaching multiple files to my email, I’m going to send three separate emails with a total of 19 or 20 photos.
In this first email, I’ll concentrate on the woodpeckers. The first photo is of a female ladder-backed woodpecker, Picoides scalaris. I got the genus name from the U of Michigan’s Animal Diversity Web. I’ve seen at least two other genus names for this bird. Downy and hairy woodpeckers are both Picoides.
The next five are a series of photos of a male golden-fronted woodpecker, Melanerpes aurifrons. Other Melanerpes in the US includes the red-bellied and the red-headed woodpeckers.
This bird was relentless in digging out large caterpillars from cottonwood bark. He grabbed one and then smashed it against the tree, much like one would stun a fish. Then he sucked it dry. In one photo, he is sticking out his tongue.