The Gila woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis) is a medium-sized woodpecker of the desert regions of the southwestern United States and western Mexico. In the U.S., they range through southeastern California, southern Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico.
 
 
This woodpecker's habitat consists of low desert scrub typical of the Sonoran Desert. They build nests in holes made in Cordon cactus, palms or mesquite trees. Cavities excavated by these woodpeckers in  cacti are later used by a variety of other species, including the elf owl. 
 

The back and wings of this bird are spotted and barred with a black and white zebra-like pattern. The neck, throat, belly and head are greyish-tan in color. The male has a small red cap on the top of the head.
 
 
Females and juveniles are similar, but both lack the red cap of the adult male. White wing patches are prominent in flight. The dark tail has white bars on the central tail feathers. They range from 8?10 in (20?25 cm) in length.
 
 

This woodpecker's voice is a rolling churr sound. It also makes a yip yip yip sound and a kee-u, kee-u, kee-u sound. Its drum is long and steady.
 
 
 
 
Feeding Behavior
 
Forages on tree trunks and cacti, in outer branches of trees or shrubs, or on ground. When seeking insects on tree trunks, generally probes or gleans at surface, rarely excavating for food. Often drinks sugar-water from hummingbird feeders.
 
 
 
Eggs
 
3-4, up to 6. White. Incubation is by both sexes, about 14 days. Young: Both parents feed young. Age at which young leave nest not well known, probably about 4 weeks; accompany parents for some time thereafter. 2-3 broods per year.
 
 
 
Diet
 
Omnivorous. Diet includes wide variety of insects, also cactus fruit, other wild and cultivated fruit, berries of shrubs and mistletoe, nectar from flowers, seeds, small lizards, earthworms, eggs and sometimes young of smaller birds.
 
 
 
Nesting
 
Displays, used largely in aggression, include exaggerated bowing and head-swinging, accompanied by loud calls. Nest site is a cavity excavated in giant cactus or in tree (cottonwood, willow, or large mesquite), sometimes in palm trunk. Cavity usually 8-30' above ground. Both sexes take part in excavating. Cavity in giant cactus cannot be used for several months, as inner pulp of cactus must dry to solid casing around cavity; holes may be excavated one year, used the next.
 
 
Range map
 
 

 
Thought for today:
 
Patriotism, n.
 
Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of
any one ambitious to illuminate his name.
 
In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism
is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel.
 
With all due respect to an enlightened but
inferior lexicographer I beg to submit it is the first.
 
Ambrose Bierce, writer (24 Jun 1842-1914)
 

Word for today:
 

poignancy

The noun poignancy refers to something that is deeply touching, especially something that brings forth strong emotions like sympathy, sadness, or sorrow. The poignancy of the movie may bring you to tears. Bring tissues. Lots of tissues.

The noun poignancy is from the Old French word poindre, which means "to prick or sting." Related words include the adjective poignant. Similar words include pathos and bathos, although both of these words often imply a sort artificiality that poignancy does not. Pathos can imply a trick by the writer or speaker to produce sympathy or sadness and bathos can imply artificial sentimentality, so poignancy is often the preferred word when genuine emotion is involved.



 I WENT TO A BOOKSTORE AND ASKED THE SALESWOMAN,
"WHERE'S THE SELF- HELP SECTION?"
SHE SAID IF SHE TOLD ME, IT WOULD DEFEAT THE PURPOSE.