Lewis's Woodpecker Project
Since the 1960's, LEWO numbers have declined by at least 60% due to loss of habitat, i.e. snags to use for natural nesting cavities. The initial goal of this project was to study whether or not Lewis’s woodpeckers would use nest boxes in areas where natural cavities are in short supply or are absent due to loss of habitat. We have had success! For the past 5 years LEWO’s have been using nest boxes at our ‘Entrada Nest Box Project Site’, for breeding purposes and we are hoping this success will continue. Now, the goal of this study is to spread the word about our success, and to incorporate other potential LEWO nest box areas into this study as well.
Currently, there are 7 study areas located around Bend. Two are located S.E. of Bend, in the old Skeleton Burn area. Two more are located in the old Awbrey Hall Fire area near the Entrada Lodge off of Century Drive, one on forest service land, with a new site at Tetherow Golf course. A fifth study area is located in Shevlin Common, with the sixth and seventh sites located outside of Sisters. One identifier that is common in all of these areas, is that LEWO’s are known to be currently present within each project’s selected areas. We currently have 47 nest boxes in place for LEWO’s!This project was sponsored by Shevlin Commons during the 2005 season.
From project leader Diane Kook, here are results for the 2015 season:
Entrada site ; 7 nest boxes used, all in the front section. None of the nest boxes in the back section were used by LEWOS. With one box used by kestrels. All other boxes empty . Number of LEWOS present overall down by half, around 20-24 birds. 26 boxes at this location
Bachelor view drive; 5 boxes at this location. Number of LEWOS present down significantly. No nest boxes were used by LEWOS. Two had flicker families, one had a kestrel family.
Shevlin commons; 5 nest boxes at this location. None used by LEWOS
Horse butte ; 2 boxes, none used by LEWOS
Bessie butte ; 16 boxes with 3 being used by LEWOS. Plan on adding an additional 3 boxes this year. Standing snags are blowing down, leaving less cavities for nesting. Good population of LEWOS in the area.
Tetherow; no boxes used at this site, few LEWOS using natural cavities.
New church site; added 2-3 years ago. 6 boxes at this site with 3 in use last year.
Interestingly, the church site is located on skyliner road...at least I think that is what it is called. It is on the road which heads up to Tumalo Falls. It is in a busy area, with traffic and people. One of the boxes is situated right next to a children's playground on the church property and was one of the boxes used by LEWOS last year.
Also at the Entrada, the majority of boxes used by the LEWOS is in the area of greatest human activity.
The sites outside of Sisters are no longer being monitored as these sites were not productive. One site only had starlings in the boxes year after year.
Talks on the success of this project have been given at the International Partner’s In Flight conference in McAllen, TX. The Western Working Group PIF conference in Portland, at Tetherow Golf Course in Bend, and at Bend’s local Birder’s Night. News of the success of this project has spurned others across the west to implement projects of their own. These projects include such places as, Burns, OR. British Columbia, Colorado, Montana, as well in western Washington and Oregon. American Bird Conservancy also published an article applauding the success of our project and how this nest box project has helped our local population of Lewis’s woodpeckers.
Here's a link to a project in Washington.
Want to find out more about putting up a LEWO nest box? Follow this link Nest Box Info
Want to build your own LEWO nest box? Folow this link Nest Box Plans