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Photo Submission

Submitted By

Ellen Lewis

Portland, OR, United States


Both the male and female White-headed woodpecker parents were working diligently to feed their hungry chicks while I watched. This species is restricted to relatively open Ponderosa pine forests, and I was in such a forest in Central Oregon. The White-headed is the only North American woodpecker with a black body and a white head, and males have a red patch on the back of their crowns. One observation I made was that the nest seemed quite low, maybe 10-11′ from the ground, making for good photo shots.

White-Headed Woodpecker

White-headed woodpecker feeding chick on Ponderosa pine in Central Oregon

5 replies on “White-Headed Woodpecker”

Donna Barski says:

As I was looking at the photo entries for this week, your picture caught my eye and I had to take a closer look. The natural lighting shining on this handsome dad makes his basic black and white feathers and that characteristic splotch of red on his head stand out. But the white-headed woodpecker is not the only star in this photo composition. The bark of the Ponderosa pine’s rich auburn color glows and the detail of its interesting texture is striking.

Of course, I have never seen a white-headed woodpecker, as I live in New York. And the pine is uniquely Western! I’m ready for a trip out west to see this bird and these trees for myself!

How fortuitous it was for you to be there at this particular time and with your camera in hand.

Thank you for sharing this lovely photo, Ellen.

PS Can we thank the morning sunshine for the lighting?

Ellen Lewis says:

Oh, you are so complimentary! Thank you for your kind words of appreciation! And I do hope you can come to Oregon to visit the Ponderosa and the beautiful birds here. I know NY also has tons of birds, but it is fun to see different ones in a different environment. Thank you, Donna.

Donna Barski says:

I have not had a chance to work on the computer all day, as the weather here in NY has been like spring – not late fall. So, my husband and I spent the day out doors. The birds were missing in action at the feeders, for the most part. Some came for a snack but most, it seemed, were busy finding grub elsewhere.

It is nice to know that you received my comment. I was not sure that you would or that you would respond. So, I was happy to get your reply. It is nice to chat with someone from across this great continent about birds.

I’m still curious, was your photo lit up by the morning or evening sunshine?

Hope you had a nice day watching your birds and you weren’t drenched by that Oregon rain that I hear about a lot!



Ellen Lewis says:

Thank you for writing and for your good comments. Yes, the light was from a morning sun on that male white-headed woodpecker. What you may not know is that I also took some pretty fair pictures of the female feeding the young ones as well as the male. Experiences like this one are truly memorable, and to be able to capture that moment in a camera just makes it all the better to remember. Thanks again.

what a find! I googled and spotted your picture not knowing what kind of Woodpecker I was looking at as the male had a solid white head with a patch of red on the crown. Your photo helped me put a name to the bird. I live in Sisters, OR and happen to see this handsome fella at our birdbath.

Another new-to-me bird spotted at the birdbath was the Wester Bluebird and I understand it is native to Central Oregon.

Thank you for snapping this fantastic photo,

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