Lewis’s Woodpeckers Put On A Show

by Larry Jordan on October 29, 2012

Lewis’s Woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis) photos by Larry Jordan

Lewis’s Woodpeckers (Melanerpes lewis) usually begin their molt in autumn and it can last through the winter. The bird above appears to be molting (click on photos for full sized images).

I noticed that they had returned from their breeding grounds a few weeks ago and were showing up in fairly large numbers among the large oaks along the rural route I take to work each morning.

They have a distinctive plumage and show conspicuous insect hawking behavior from the tree tops, easily seen from the roadway.

These images were taken with my digiscoping setup and I was fortunate to catch this bird as it took off from its perch.

I also shot some video of a couple of Lewis’s Woodpeckers, one foraging, possibly on acorns, in an oak tree and another (the bird pictured in the top photo) that was preening in a snag.

You will hear several other species of birds in the background including the California Quail, Western Scrub-Jay, Northern Flicker, White-breasted Nuthatch and the high pitched chatter of the Lewis’s Woodpecker.

To see more great bird photos, check out The Bird D’pot and Wild Bird Wednesday!

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

TexWisGirl October 30, 2012 at 7:12 am

very pretty birds. i like their magenta-colored face!


Martha Z October 30, 2012 at 9:04 am

You get a lot of birds I don’t see, I’m surprised our habitats are that different.


Eileen October 30, 2012 at 9:56 am

Beautiful woodpecker! Great shots, Larry!


Liz October 30, 2012 at 10:28 am

Lovely shots, Larry!! What a beautiful bird.


Adam Jones October 30, 2012 at 11:34 am

Lovely in flight shots, and great colouring on the woodys.


Mick October 30, 2012 at 11:38 am

Brilliant photos catching the bird in the air like that!


Findlay October 30, 2012 at 11:39 am

He looks much bigger than our woodpeckers, how big is it compared to something like a Jackdaw. From Findlay


Gail October 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I would never have guessed this to be a woodpecker. You find the most interesting birds. Thanks for getting all the shots and for the info. Enjoyed the video also. 🙂


I'd Rather B Birdin [Anni] October 30, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I’ve not seen one like this, ever!!! The last one in flight is just awesome.

Fantastic images of a great bird!!!


Boom & Gary October 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Great captures!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.


fjällripan October 30, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Great shots of this beautiful bird!! Another new bird to me…/Susanne


Mary Howell Cromer October 31, 2012 at 3:38 am

What beautifully marked birds and it is so nice when a bird perches so nicely within our sights. That makes photographing them so much easier~


Pat October 31, 2012 at 8:30 am

Beautiful birds! I love that flight shot.


Modesto Viegas (Portugal) October 31, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Great capture!


Backyard Bird Paradise October 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I have never seen a Lewis’s Woodpecker. What an amazing bird. Very beautiful shots as well.


Neil October 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Beautiful photos love the video.


Stewart M November 1, 2012 at 2:23 am

Great looking bird! I’m going to have to give digi-scoping a go – as I have a similar scope and camera body.

Thanks for linking to WBW

Stewart M – Australia


dreamfalcon November 1, 2012 at 3:03 am

What a stunning Woodpecker – very nice colors.
You are lucky to get those kind of birds on your way to work!


Mia McPherson November 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm

These are gorgeous Woodpeckers, I hope to have some opportunities with them this winter.


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