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Rare Bird Highlight: Lewis’s Woodpecker

April 6, 2011

Lewis’s Woodpeckers should be found in the western United States and southern British Columbia, so when one turned up at the feeders of Fred and Ellie Jordan in Livonia, New York, last fall, their report certainly raised some questions. Fred snapped a few quick photos just in case the bird disappeared, but the unexpected visitor decided to stay for the entire winter. Bird watchers came from all around for a glimpse of “King Lewis the 1st,” only the 5th confirmed report of Lewis’s Woodpecker in the state.

Lewis’s Woodpecker at the home of Fred and Ellie Jordan, Livonia, NY. Photo by Fred Jordan.

Ellie describes the woodpecker as, “A very robust and colorful bird. It has been especially thrilling for the birders to observe, as they see it from our kitchen where it is warm and only 15 feet from the feeders where King Lewis the 1st lands and regales them.” Ellie noticed that the bird watchers who came to visit were a varied bunch. She describes the main types:

The Listers: Visitors who are in and out in fifteen to twenty minutes.

The Habiters: Visitors who watch every little bird tic. Ex: “Oh look, he’s pooping!  He must be healthy!” (to much laughter).

The Socializers:  Visitors who chat and laugh as much as they watch the bird.

The Gifters: Visitors who kindly brought cookies, scones, suet, flowers, nuts, seeds and cheese.

According to Fred and Ellie, “The group as a whole are delightful, insightful and ooohed and ahhhed on cue over King Lewis the 1st.” The bird is very territorial bird and chases away nuthatches, other woodpeckers, jays and anyone else that would touch his peanuts. He appears about a half hour after daybreak, is curious and inquisitive. “He made our winter memorable,” wrote Fred.

“King Lewis” poses for his profile. Photo by Fred Jordan.

Too see more confirmed reports of birds in unexpected places, visit the FeederWatch Rare Birds site. For more information on Lewis’s Woodpeckers, visit All About Birds.

6 Comments
  1. April 6, 2011 11:43 am

    Wow, what a pretty guy! Thanks to Project FeederWatch and the Jordans for sharing this bit of excitement with us.

  2. Nora Hansen permalink
    April 6, 2011 3:34 pm

    I have never seen such a beauty! Wow!!!

  3. April 8, 2011 6:09 am

    Very nice photo

    Very nice photos!

  4. April 22, 2011 8:55 pm

    Very nice story, great pix. Thanks for sharing. I like the woodpeckers , have seen 4 different ones here, but none like your special guy:)

  5. May 23, 2011 5:20 pm

    One of these guys recently came right up to me the other day and said hello!

  6. Nora Hansen permalink
    May 24, 2011 2:35 pm

    One of the coolest birds I have ever seen! Thanks for sharing Jonathan!

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