Central Colorado Conservancy asks public for help sighting declining woodpecker species

The Central Colorado Conservancy hosts two public workshops this week to ask residents for help reporting sightings of the Lewis’s Woodpecker, a species of conservation priority that is unique to the Western U.S., yet uses old-growth cottonwood woodlands prevalent in the region for nesting. Attendees will learn more about the woodpecker and how to enter sightings into an online database. The Conservancy will use this data to help identify critical habitat to create priorities for conservation work.

The Lewis’s is a medium-sized woodpecker with greenish-black wings, a grey collar and salmon-colored belly. They exhibit a slow, deliberate flight more like a crow or jay, and display unique feeding habits, often snatching insects in flight much like a swallow instead of pecking tree bark like other woodpeckers. Their populations have declined about 82 percent since the 1960s, mainly due to habitat loss, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The Conservancy is working with the lab to identify the woodpecker’s critical habitat in Central Colorado.

Workshops take place on Wednesday, June 28, 7-7:45 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church at 7 Poncha Blvd. in Salida, and on Thursday, June 29, 6-6:45 p.m. at the Buena Vista Library meeting room. All are welcome to attend.

The Lewis's Woodpecker is on the State of North America's Birds' Watch List, which includes species that are most at-risk of extinction without conservation actions to reverse declines and reduce threats. The Conservancy is the leader in on-the-ground programs that protect the region’s land, water and wildlife resources. The nonpofit’s mission is create a legacy of conservation and protect the natural and agricultural values that make Central Colorado special.

For more information about the Lewis’s Woodpecker Project, contact Executive Director Andrew Mackie at 719-539-7700 or [email protected]

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