There’s gold in them there canyons!

The golden-fronted woodpecker (Melanerpes aurifrons) is a real Texas specialty, occurring throughout much of the central part of the state through Central America as far south as northern Nicaragua.  This species spills over only into southwest Oklahoma in the United States.  This pair was filmed last year in Palo Duro Canyon and I bet this 50 second video will be all it takes to make these awesome birds a favorite.  By the way, this species is very abundant and obvious in Palo Duro Canyon and can be found at Caprock Canyon State Park too,  The species is quite versatile in terms of diet, feeding on invertebrates and plant material and foraging in trees and on the ground.  In Palo Duro Canyon I have seen Golden-fronts with large beetles and also seen them feed on soap berries.

In the video you will see the male and the female at the nest cavity these birds excavated in this juniper.  Both sexes have the orange-yellow nape but it is easy to distinguish the male’s red crown in the video.  While I watched and filmed these two I became very impressed with how diligently they looked after the nest as well as the cooperation and communication involved.  Most of the time there was an adult incubating the eggs, on the nest tree, or near by.  It was common to hear vocalizations and we even have video where the male raps the tree while apparently waiting for the female to emerge (a signal to come out perhaps).  You will hear a great deal of their vocalizations in the video along with a number of other local species.  In some cases you will hear the other member of the pair respond to calls from their mate with their loud and repeated “kirrr” notes.  Share this please!

2 thoughts on “There’s gold in them there canyons!

  1. I had a mom, pop and youngun at the feeders late this summer. In addition to the cake feed, I enjoyed watching them feed at the oriole feeder. They are one of my favorite birds to photograph.

  2. Of corse I would love this video, it’s about birds! I think is my favorite so far bc I actually got to see the little booger go down the tree. Their agility is astounding. Thanks guys for giving me this wonder filled moment.

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