Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Ladder-Backed Woodpecker

On Thursday, July 1, we planned to drive 45 miles from Carlsbad, NM to McKittrick Canyon in Guadalupe Mountains National Park to hike up to the Pratt Cabin and back, then drive back to Carlsbad Caverns NP to go through the cave. We were very disappointed to arrive at the McKittrick entrance and find that the gate was closed. We drove an additional 7 miles to the main visitor center and learned that flash-flooding (or the potential for flash-flooding) was the reason for the closure. While at the visitor center we walked a small nature trail and I was thrilled to see and photograph a bird I've never seen before, a ladder-backed woodpecker

The ladder-backed woodpecker is primarily black and white with a barred pattern on its back and wings that is reminiscent of rungs on a ladder. Males have a red crown patch that is lacking in females. It is primarily found in the southwestern U.S. and down through most of Mexico.

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