The Lewis Woodpecker & Current Tetherow Bird Count

by Cal Elshoff

The iconic bird of Tetherow! The Lewis’ Woodpecker is not endangered but is on the watch list. It was first identified by Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Corp of Discovery. It has a greenish‑black head and body with a light collar and red face with a pinkish belly. In flight, it’s darkness, large size and slow, steady wing beat give them a crow‑like appearance. They are common in open woodlands, interior foothills, and valleys, often in burned over areas. They travel southwest for the winter, preferring southwestern Oregon and northern California where oak trees are prevalent. Their main food is insects but they also enjoy fruit and nuts. They are not strong enough the build their own cavity and they depend on others to create a cavity for them.

At Tetherow we are attempting to mitigate the fire damage to the habitat caused by the Awbrey fire in the early 1990s. The trees are gone, although the snags remained until their roots gave way. In 2010, we had 5 nests in snags; in 2011, we had 9 nests in snags; in 2012 we had 9 nests in snags and 2 in boxes. In 2015, we filled the boxes with wood chips, relocated them as needed, keep the bark on the front and hoped for the best. The numbers have not been as promising as we would like but we will persevere!

The current bird count is trending lower this year, due in large part to the long, tough winter of 2016‑2017.

Current 2017 Bird Count

  • Tree Swallow: 29
  • Violent Green: 0
  • Wren: 11
  • Lewis Woodpecker: 3
  • Western Bluebird: 0
  • Mountain Bluebird: 5

Tetherow is lucky to have a dedicated group of Members who work to create and preserve habitat for our avian friends. If you would like to learn more about adding bat boxes or bird homes to your property, please contact Cal at calice58@gmail.com.

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Tetherow Bird Brochure