Sapsucker Housing Crisis: Endangered Woodpecker ‘Condos’ Being Clear Cut

"Almost two decades after the Williamson’s sapsucker was listed as endangered under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, the B.C. government continues to sanction logging in the bird’s old-growth forest critical habitat".

"Biologist Les Gyug was working for B.C.’s environment ministry when a logging permit application caught his eye. A forestry company planned to clearcut rare old-growth larch stands in the province’s southern interior, set aside decades earlier as seed trees to allow for natural regeneration. “Rather than log them, let’s go look, and see what’s in them,” Gyug recalls saying.

He expected to find a suite of forest birds in the scattered 400-year-old western larch stands: birds like Townsend’s warblers, gaily-coloured western tanagers and brown creepers, a small songbird that spirals up tree trunks. Walking through the trees after dawn, binoculars in hand, he heard a mysterious bird drumming in staccato rhythm. “I had never heard this before. And I realized only afterwards, ‘Jeez, that was a Williamson’s sapsucker and it was in an old larch stand!’ ”

Back then, in the mid-1990s, little was known about Williamson’s sapsucker — the only one of the world’s 250 woodpecker species where the plumage of males and females is so strikingly different they were once thought to be two distinct species."

Sarah Cox reports for The Narwhal February 27, 2023.

Source: The Narwhal, 03/01/2023