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  • Writer's picturekaydee777

Lady Ladderback

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

For the past month to six weeks I have been enjoying the company of a female Ladderback Woodpecker (Dryobates scalaris) who has been hanging out nearby as I go about preparing beds, planting and mulching the garlic in the south western sector of the Garden of Earthly Delights.

If I don't see her, she announces her presence with a squeaky toy call. Piep! Piep! Piep! She rat-tat-tats on wood too telling me she's there.

Sometimes, when I'm in the kitchen, I hear and see her drinking at the bird bath or woodpeckering around in the Weeping Santa Rosa plum, turning this way and that, showing off her lovely ladder back markings, facial stripes or softly spotted tawny breast. She is very beautiful.

I know she's Lady Ladderback because the male version apparently sports a red blaze on his head. Once I think I glimpsed a Lord Ladderback outback, but not recently.

I do hope my lady friend continues to enjoy the thicket of mesquite, chamisa , opuntia and ephedra which I've been stewarding along this boundary (city workers and code enforcement willing) and stays a long while. I also hope that she manages to avoid falling prey to the neighborhood cats who, besides annoying me in the way they use the garden, especially freshly prepared foodplant beds, as a litter box, occasionally leave the scattered feathers and bits of body part signs of having killed a bird at this watering station.

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