Birds and Forest Fires

Black-backed Woodpecker ©Flicker Michael Woodruff

Black-backed Woodpecker ©Flicker Michael Woodruff

All About Birds re-published an article about how Forest Fires affect wildlife and people from Living Bird magazine.

I found it to be very interest how so abundantly birds, wildlife and plants revive after a forest fire. This article was about the Rice Ridge Fire burn in the Swan Mountains of Montana. They show many of the birds that are now coming back and abounding.

“You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; And You renew the face of the earth. May the glory of the LORD endure forever; May the LORD rejoice in His works. He looks on the earth, and it trembles; He touches the hills, and they smoke.” (Psalms 104:30-32 NKJV)

One avian wonder especially pointed out is the Black-backed Woodpecker.

Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) by Daves BirdingPix

“The black-backed woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) also known as the Arctic three-toed woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker (23 cm (9.1 in) long) inhabiting the forests of North America.

Their breeding range is boreal forest across Canada, Alaska, the north-western United States, as well as northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Upper Michigan. In particular the species is a burnt-forest specialist, feeding on the outbreaks of wood-boring beetles that feed on recently burnt trees. The most important wood boring beetles taken are in the families Cerambycidae and Buprestidae, along with engraver beetles and Mountain pine beetle. Most food is obtained by pecking, a smaller proportion is obtained by gleaning off branches. Black-backed woodpeckers are generally non-migratory but historically have undertaken intermittent irruptions.

Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) by Ian

Nest excavation occurs in April and May; a fresh nest is drilled each year into the sapwood of dead trees. Abandoned nests are used by other species of bird to nest in. The female lays three or four eggs, and incubation duties are shared between both parents, although the male alone incubates during the night. Upon hatching the altricial chicks are brooded until the nestling phase. Both parents feed the chicks, which take about 24 days to fledge.

Nest excavation occurs in April and May; a fresh nest is drilled each year into the sapwood of dead trees. Abandoned nests are used by other species of bird to nest in. The female lays three or four eggs, and incubation duties are shared between both parents, although the male alone incubates during the night. Upon hatching the altricial chicks are brooded until the nestling phase. Both parents feed the chicks, which take about 24 days to fledge.

Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) by Ian

Black Backed Woodpecker

There are times when it is good to have things “renewed.”

“But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV)

Information about  the Black-backed Woodpecker from [Wikipedia]

Old Flames: The Tangled History of Forest Fires, Wildfire, and People

All About Birds – Black-backed Woodpecker

Wordless Woodpeckers

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