Birding Enthusiasts can’t get enough of the Red-headed Woodpecker
We wanted to share a few more details and photos of the amazing Red-headed Woodpecker sighting at the ranch last week and provide an update from the local birding enthusiasts.
Written for our enjoyment by Heidi Ware
How Jay Carlise and Heidi Ware spotted the Red-headed Woopecker
As they were heading for showers after a long day of hiking, they passed a woodpecker perched on a telephone pole near the main ranch house. It flew across the road in front of their car and both of them were stunned by the strange black and white pattern of the wings. Jay immediately recognized it at a Red-headed Woodpecker and they both frantically bailed out of the car for a better look. Jay has seen Red-headed Woodpeckers in their normal range (which is mostly southern and central US) but Heidi had never seen that species before! (That’s known as a “lifer” in the birding world).
After snapping a quick picture with Heidi’s cell phone held up to her binoculars (Jay had to press the shutter button while Heidi held the phone and binocs), they both scrambled to call as many of their fellow bird watchers as possible. The next day, after Tess the ranch biologist gave her permission, birders from all over the state flooded to see the bird.
Bird Enthusiasts travel to get a glimpse of the Red-headed Woodpecker
For Jay, a very experienced birder, this Red-headed Woodpecker was his first sighting in Idaho. For many other local birding enthusiasts it was also a first for them in Idaho, or even their first ever! All were very excited and many headed right out to Lava Lake Ranch to see if they could see this rare bird. Birders drove from as far as Boise and Island Park to find the woodpecker.
Denise Hughes drove all the way from Canyon County to get this photo: the woodpecker was a “lifer” for her too!
Kathleen Cameron, who lives in the Wood River Valley area, was in Boise at the time of the sighting. As soon as she was able, she made it back and took a trip to the ranch. After multiple times of trying, she was finally able to spot it! (Windy weather had caused to bird to leave its favorite bug-hunting perch on the telephone pole). Brian Sturges, one of the other birders with her snapped this photo of Kathleen’s celebration after finally finding the bird. While other birder’s enthusiasm was not captured on film, all were equally thrilled and the birding community is still abuzz with the excitement of this find.
This Red-headed Woodpecker is the ninth of its species rumored to have been in Idaho (some accounts of sightings go back all the way to the 1950’s), but it is only the 2nd ever confirmed sighting in the entire state!