Nature Notes

Vol. V July 11th, 1927 Summer Season. No. 2


National Park headquarters, at Longmire Springs, seems to be a popular resort for woodpeckers and other tree-climbing birds. The large and beautiful, but shy, pileated woodpecker was seen there on June 22nd. The Sierra Creepers, equally retiring birds, sent an emissary to Headquarters on June 27th. The Creeper is a small an inconspicuous bird. It is probably best recognized by its habits. If you see a small wren-like bird clinging to the bark of a tree like a woodpecker it is probably a Creeper. The little brown bird is very systematic in its search for insects. It begins at the bottom of a tree, ascends it by quick little jumps, then sweeps down like a shooting star to the base of the next tree. This methodical pursuit is extended to all the trees in sight.

The Harris woodpecker can be seen at almost any time near Longmire. This woodpecker is about the size of a robin, and is mostly black and white, with a dash of scarlet about the head. The white back stripe and the smoky white breast are very conspicuous. This woodpecker pecks with a will on whatever is handy. One was observed to take a bite at the framework of one of the new houses at Longmire.

Another favored locality for birds is the clearing for the new road along Tahoma Creek. Here, in the short walk, the naturalist saw or heard the Yellow Tanager, the Harris Woodpecker, the Winter Wren, the Junco and the varied thrush. The Tanager of the park is not the Scarlet Tanager, whose beauty is rivalled by the Park fountain pen, but a brilliant yellow bird, whose beauty has no rival. As the birds differ somewhat from humans in their ways, it is the male Tanager that wears these fine feathers. The female is inconspicuously garbed in olive green.

By. S. B. Jones, Ranger-Nat.


Several pairs of the Harris woodpeckers have been seen about Longmire. The interesting thing noted about these birds was that they were always in pairs. Whenever one was noted the other was always located nearby and if either flew, if only for a short distance, the other followed.

My attention was first attracted by a pair of them in the old Longmire camp grounds. The male bird was vigorously digging nice fat grubs out of a large round block of wood on top of a woodpile. Close beside sat the female preening and fluffing her feathers while every few moments the male would pass over to her a nice grub that he had found. These birds have a long extensible tongue which they insert into the burrows they make, and extract the worms. They are relentless workers and seem to possess both a boundless energy and apetite. The female looks much like the male but does not have the scarlet nape.

By. Charles Landes, Ranger-Nat.

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