Named by Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Lewis's (or Lewis) Woodpecker is an interesting and somewhat unique woodpecker native to relatively small areas of appropriate habitat across the west from Canada to Mexico. It is also one of the very few truly flocking woodpeckers. In the years that I was spending weeks floating and fishing down the middle Deschutes each summer, I continuously scratched my head about an unusual flock of dark, blackbird-sized birds that staged over the river in the hundreds, picking insects out of the air. It took awhile to realize they were Lewis's woodpeckers. In some areas, such as on the Deschutes and in the Wamic area of Oregon, they are found in very large numbers, and often as organized flocks.
A short glimpse of a Lewis's while travelling as a young boy was one of my first "exotic" bird finds, so it has had special status in my mind ever since. When my friends, the Bussards, told me they had "Lewis", the woodpecker that perched for hours on a tree just yards off their deck in Wamic, I had to set up with the telephoto lens. So here is "Lewis", in all his pastel glory.