Red-naped Sapsucker,Sphyrapicus nuchalis. (Plate 11.4) Male length 7 in (18 cm), female length 7 1/2 in (19 cm); male weight 1 1/2 oz (44 g), female weight 1 1/2 oz (43 g). Locally fairly common summer resident in the White Mountains, between approximately 9,000 and 9,600 ft (2,740 and 2,930 m).
This woodpecker lives in canyons on the east side of the range, in streamside growth of aspens and willows. Mountain Mahogany and Bristlecone Pine are visited to a lesser extent. The adults drill linear rows of rectangular holes in the trunks and limbs of these trees and dip up the exuding sap with their brushy-tipped tongues. Such borings commonly lure insects, which, in turn, attract other species of birds. The Red-naped Sapsucker usually excavates its nest cavity in a large dying aspen, where decaying wood provides for easy digging. As the nestlings mature, their loud begging cries can be heard up to 100 yd (91 m) from the nest. In response to these cries, the parents arrive independently every few minutes carrying billsfull of large Timber Ants and other insects. Other cavity-nesting species of birds commonly use abandoned sapsucker nests for raising their own young. Consequently, sapsuckers and other woodpeckers play an important role as primary cavity excavators for a significant group of secondary hole-nesting species. For decades this form was combined with the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (S. varius ) and the Red-breasted Sapsucker (S. ruber ) as a single species. References: Johnson and Johnson (1985), Short (1982).
Hairy Woodpecker,Picoides villosus. (Fig. 11.18) Male length 8 in (20.25 cm), female length 8 1/4 in (21 cm) male weight 2 1/8 oz (60 g), female weight 2 1/5 oz (62 g). Fairly common permanent resident in the White-Inyo Range, between 6,750 and 9,600 ft (2,060 and 2,930 m).
This species is perhaps the most generalized of all North American woodpeckers. In the White-Inyo mountain region, it is at home in such diverse habitats as Pinyon-juniper Woodland, aspen-willow associations, and coniferous forest of Limber and Bristlecone pines. Pinyon is used less commonly toward the south; there the trees must be large and in relatively thick groves on cool slopes or in canyons. Nest cavities are excavated in dead trees of any kind. The species forages mostly in dead or dying trees, where adult and larval insects are obtained by digging into decaying wood. In these vast mountains, Hairy Woodpeckers are sparsely distributed, and usually only one or two pairs may be encountered in a single day. Reference: Short (1971).
Northern Flicker,Colaptes auratus. (Plate 11.1) Male length 11 1/4 in (28.5 cm), female length 11 in (28.25 cm); male weight 5 3/8 oz (151 g), female weight 5 oz (141 g). Relatively common permanent resident in the White-Inyo Range, up to 10,350 ft (3,155 m).
Northern Flickers breed throughout the region in all types of woodland habitats, preferably where there are extensive tracts of good-sized trees near openings. Large, dying pinyons, aspens, or pines are all used for excavating nest cavities. Similar flexibility is shown in foraging behavior. Flickers search for ants, caterpillars, grubs, termites, beetles, and other terrestrial or foliage insects in live and dead tree trunks, leaf litter, bare soil, and ant hills. Because of its unusual terrestrial habits, this woodpecker is likely to be flushed from the ground in meadows, sagebrush flats, or other openings in wooded country. The attractive salmon-red color underneath the wings and tail, clearly seen in flight, is based on red pigments obtained through the diet. Occasional individuals that exhibit yellowish wing or tail feathers have not
eaten sufficient pigment-containing food prior to and during feather growth. Reference: Short (1965).