Rare bird alert: Lewis’ woodpecker spotted

SARANAC LAKE – A rare bird – rare east of the Rocky Mountains, anyway – was spotted near Lake Kiwassa over Memorial Day weekend.

The Lewis’ woodpecker was confirmed by expert birder Brian McAllister of the Paul Smith’s College VIC, based on a photo of the bird taken by Linda Clough of Bridgeport, Conn., from her mother Virginia Brink’s house. The woodpecker was in Brink’s yard on Sunday, May 26.

Clough’s husband George described the experience to the Enterprise in an email. He said he was fixing one of Brink’s bird feeders when he saw the colorful bird picking at bugs on a wooden bench.

“Later Virginia spoke with Glenn and Betsy Pond, her neighbor, and they too had seen the bird earlier in the day!” George Clough wrote. “And they too felt it could only be a Lewis Woodpecker.

“What brought this bird this far East? I can only speculate, but was thankful for its visit.”

McAllister was especially excited because the sighting was so soon before the annual Great Adirondack Birding Celebration at the VIC, which was this held past weekend. He said he hoped birdwatchers coming to the festival would keep their eyes peeled for the woodpecker.

The Lewis’ woodpecker is distinguishable by its red face, pink belly, gray collar and greenish-black head, neck, back and wings. It is one of the biggest North American woodpeckers and can get as long as 10 to 11 inches.

Contact Peter Crowley at 518-891-2600 ext. 22 or