Bird #319 — Black-backed Woodpecker

picoides (from picus, a woodpecker, and eidos appearance) arcticus (Arctic)

Monday, December 26, 1988 — 10:50 am

McNaughton, Wisconsin

My brother-in-law, nephew, and I took a walk through the woods. We were near a horse corral when I heard a woodpecker knocking.  I spotted it about 20 feet up in a 40 foot spruce and identified it as a Black-backed Woodpecker.  The tree was dead and the bird was knocking off bits of bark as it pecked.  It stayed in the same general place, although it occasionally hiked up, down or sideways a few inches. I had to move around some and wait a while, but I got a good view of one foot and saw the three toes.

The three of us had good looks, and when we left the woodpecker was still in the same spot, doing the same thing.  I went back the next summer, but it was gone.

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