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Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Journals Lewis and Clark as Naturalists

Downy And Hairy Woodpeckers

On several occasions, the captains noted small, speckled woodpeckers, but never described them in detail. Several different species have been assigned based upon the sightings, but most are now considered to have been hairy woodpeckers, or perhaps one or more were downy woodpeckers. Without more detail, an accurate attribution cannot be made.

April 8, 1805, from the Meteorological journals--small woodpecker, or sapsucker as they are sometimes called.

May 28, 1805, from the Meteorological journals--a small black and white woodpecker with a red head.

The small speckled bird mentioned here was at one time called the Harris woodpecker, but has now been desginated as a hairy woodpecker.

Capt. Lewis, April 5, 1806--we saw the martin, small gees, the small speckled woodpecker with a white back,, the Blue crested Corvus, ravens, crows, eagles Vultures and hawks.

At one time, the speckled bird in this passage was designated as a Rocky Mountain hairy woodpecker, but is now considered not to be a distinct species and is simply a hairy woodpecker.

Capt. Lewis, June 15, 1806--Saw the speckled woodpecker, bee martin, and log cock, or large woodpecker.

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