Bird #299 — Acorn Woodpecker

melanerpes (from melanos, black, and herpes, creeper) formicivorus (from, forma, an ant, and voro, to devour)

Tuesday, April 3, 1984 — 6:45 am

Madera Canyon, Arizona — Santa Rita Lodge

We started the day with a visit to another one of North America’s birding Meccas, Madera Canyon.  All sorts of rare and unusual birds call this place home, but we were too early in the season to see much.  We spent an hour or so wandering up and down the wooded canyon, getting good looks at many of the birds I had seen earlier in the week, and many looks at a lifer, the Acorn Woodpecker.

I first spotted a pair perched on top of a telephone pole near the lodge where birders stay.  (None were staying there at this time because it had recently burned to the ground.)  The male had an acorn in its bill.

We soon spotted more all over the canyon, on feeders, poles and trees.  There was almost always at least one in sight the entire time we were in the canyon.  At one point, I saw five on the same pole.

Dad got a bit bored and wandered down the canyon, polishing one of his wood carvings as he went.  He was wandering across the flats at the base of the mountains when we drove by and picked him up.  It was about this time that we noticed the brakes on the van were getting mushy.

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