I spotted this Ladder-backed Woodpecker earlier this week while relaxing after a long day of photography during our trip to Big Bend National Park. It was trying to get into a hummingbird feeder that was hanging in the porch area of our lodge. He then moved over to this post and started peeling off pieces of bark. I’m not sure if he was collecting material for a nest or just being destructive. This was by far the most disheveled woodpecker that I had ever seen. Not sure why but his feathers were a mess!
Ladder-backed Woodpeckers are at home in the dry brush country of the desert Southwest, preferring mesquite and prickly pear to more traditional woodpecker habitats in hardwood. They are frequently found in desert habitats where sotol and agave stalks provide them “tree trunks” on which to practice their excavation skills. While hiking, we saw various desert plants that had woodpecker holes carved into their stalks.
This image was taken with my Canon EOS 7D Mark II using my Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 II Lens set on 400 mm. The camera was set on Aperture priority mode with the aperture set at f/5.6, shutter speed at 1/500th of a second and the ISO set at 100. I didn’t have time to set the camera settings to “bird photography” settings so I got a bit lucky. This is a single image processed in Lightroom and Nik ColorEfex Pro.
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