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Notes on the Lewis Woodpecker

John J. Williams
Publication Information
Journal: 
Condor
Volume: 
7
Issue: 
2 (March-April)
Section: 
From Field and Study
Year: 
1905
Pages: 
56

Notes on the Lewis Woodpecker

While on a surveying trip in July of last year, I was very much struck with the great number of Lewis woodpeckers (Asyndesmus torquatus) breeding in the vicinity of Sardine Valley in Nevada County, California. This valley is a couple of square miles in extent, fairly flat, and usually affords good feeding ground to a large herd of dairy stock. Last year and the year before, this feeding range has had to be abandoned by the dairy people early in the season, owing to a plague of grasshoppers of a wingless variety. Lewis woodpeckers evidently knew of this, for last year they were to be seen all day long, flying from the valley with grasshoppers to feed their young, and almost every old dead pine or blasted stump had a voracious family of these youngsters in it, yelling all day long. This species was the only one that showed any appreciable increase in numbers in consequence of the increase in insect food. I noted western robins (Merula m. propinqua), Brewer blackbirds (Euphagus cyanocephalus) and a few dull colored sparrows feeding on the grasshoppers but not in any great numbers.

JOHN J. WILLIAMS

Applegate, Cal.

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