Dead Trees Make Great Homes

I haven’t posted about my the rest of my April Yellowstone weekend.  I’ve been playing outside instead.  Yesterday evening I took a drive up Lolo Creek.  I stopped in a burned area to look for morels.  I didn’t find any morels, but I did find something maybe better – a pair of black-backed woodpeckers.  I could hear the noises of woodpeckers at work.  Finding the bird themselves (black birds on scorched black tree trunks) was a matter of following my ears.  Yesterday, I found the a male first, and, shortly thereafter, a female.  It was dark and gloomy, being late in the evening of a rainy day.  I returned this evening hoping to catch some photos in better light.  I met partial success.  This evening, I found the female, but not the male.  I guess I’ll have to try again!

Black-backed woodpeckers are an uncommon-to-rare woodpecker that are “burnt-forest specialists.”  They feed on beetles that are found in burned trees, by flaking the burned bark off of charred tree trunks.

female black-backed woodpecker flaking charred bark off burned tree

female black-backed woodpecker flaking charred bark off fire-blackened tree trunk

The are in which I found them has several trees that have some bark flaked off, and some that have been extensively debarked – and a few tree trunks with the “dead trees make great homes” signs as charred tree with sections of bark removed by woodpeckers hunting beetles

Yesterday evening, I observed the pair boring holes in one of the tree trunks – excavating nest cavities, perhaps?  I hope so.  Dead trees do make great homes, not just for fish, but for many bird species, too.

more photos here:

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>