Saturday, May 22, 2010

Black, White and Red all over...

When I started birding my criteria for a 'good' bird were size and immobility--that is to say that I appreciated herons most and warblers least! I have since broadened my perspective and actually enjoy the challenge of finding and identifying numerous warblers. But that still doesn't diminish my joy at easily identifiable birds, and I would have to say the Acorn Woodpecker is one of those.

It's not exactly stationary nor is it particularly big, but its block-like division into black, white and red makes it a hard bird to misidentify in the West (were I in the East, I'd have to at least consider its relatively close relative, Red-Headed Woodpecker, which has even more stringent color blocks, but this is where those range maps in all the field guides come in handy!) To me, Acorn Woodpeckers always look a bit clown-like--maybe that's partly due to their call that seems to say 'wake-up! wake-up! wake-up!'  Or maybe it's the fact that they're so social and are constantly chasing each other around, making me laugh at them.

I think of them as an Arizona bird--but that's just because I've seen them there.  When I read up on them in the Nat Geo's Complete Birds of North America, I found that they are accidental in BC.  This gives me hope that I'll see one in my native land!

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