YELLOWSTONE NATURE NOTES
I always feel as though I have been granted a great favor by nature upon those occasions when it is my privilege to observe one of the rare birds or animals.
During the past few months I have been lucky enough to observe four Arctic three-toed woodpeckers (Picoides arcticus) in various parts of Yellowstone. Last summer two were seen in the large spruce (Picea englemannii) forests near Grizzly Lake.
Later, in the early fall, as I was passing along a new right of way which was being constructed near the west boundary, I saw one feeding upon insects which had just begun to attack the trees where the pure lodgepole (Pinus contorta) stand had been opened. This was my first observation of the three-toed woodpecker in a pure lodgepole forest in the park and at a distance from the spruce and fir.
The other day, January 17, I saw one in the dense spruce bottom along the Snake River near the mouth of Red Creek close to the end of the Heart Lake burn. Old burns are among the favorite haunts of this bird.
I have seen no mention of this bird on our resident list. He should surely be added for I have seen him at all seasons.
One of the characteristics of this bird is his fearlessness of man and while being observed he will usually oblige by going ahead with his business as though no one were standing below with a pair of binoculars trained on him.
Note: The Arctic Three-toed Woodpecker has been reported in bird lists for the park as "very scarce"1 and as a "rare resident".2
1 Skinner, M. P. "Birds of Yellowstone National Park".
2 Check List of Birds of Yellowstone National Park, National Park Service.
Yellowstone National Park
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