Monday, July 9, 2012

Gila Woodpecker

After leaving New Mexico last March, Erika and I visited the Arizona Desert Museum in Tucson. We had fond memories of visiting the museum 44 years ago. This time we were disappointed--the museum was more like a zoological park than a desert preserve, and completely full of people. Tucson has grown in the last half century.

We did see a few wild birds, including this Gila Woodpecker poking out of a cavity in a Saguaro Cactus. The woodpecker is a year-round in southern Arizona and northwestern Mexico. The species is characteristic of Saguaro deserts, but is also found elsewhere. This is a noisy, aggressive woodpecker and is easy to find. It is an omnivore, consuming cactus flowers and fruits, insects, other animals and even bird eggs (Edwards and Schnell 2000).

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