Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Lewis' Woodpeckers in Western Nebraska

Doris Gates, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union

Copyright 1981, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


On 30 August 1980, Dr. Randy Lawson from Chadron State College reported to me that Lewis' Woodpeckers (Asyndesmus lewis) were in a dead elm tree about eight miles south of Chadron on the west side of U.S. Highway 385. We observed them for about an hour, and in the afternoon, Marj Blinde and I watched them for about an hour more. They numbered at least 12 and flew from the elm to fence posts and telephone posts nearby.

They performed the fly catching actions for which they are noted, but it seemed the attraction of this particular location was a chokecherry thicket about 100 yards west of the tree. The tree stood at the edge of another chokecherry thicket, but every time we saw them fly to chokecherries, they went to the farther one.