Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ladder-Backed Woodpecker

This morning while checking my feeders, I heard the "tap-tap-tapping" common to woodpeckers. As I watched the branches of our Elm tree for the source of the sound, I caught sight of a bright red spot popping out from behind one. This is what I saw:

(Ladder-Backed Woodpecker)
(Ladder-Backed Woodpecker)

The Ladder-Backed Woodpecker often feeds and nests in cacti in the Southwest. It's a small woodpecker that mainly feeds on insects such ants and beetles. Females generally like to feed in upper branches, whereas males tend to feed closer to the trunk or near the ground. This male was, however, feeding in the upper branches.  The Ladder-Backed Woodpecker is a year-round resident of the panhandle, albeit being a "rare to common" resident. They nest in trees, cacti, agave, yucca, or even a utility pole. The nests are likely drilled by the males, and lined with wood chips.

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