Endangered Species: Gila Woodpecker

Animals of all kinds are struggling to survive as our world changes. Day by day, people require even more space, food, etc., and all these demands put a squeeze on the earth’s resources, including its wildlife. The biggest problem for wildlife today is that people destroy and change natural landscapes and animals lose places that they need to live in. Otherwise known as Melanerpes uropygialis, the Gila woodpecker is being threatened with extinction. There is a large environmental impact on this endangered animal. The Gila woodpecker is very unique bird in which no similar species overlap its range. In relation there is the Red-bellied Woodpecker and the Golden-fronted Woodpecker. There is much to know about the Gila woodpecker and its environment.

The Gila woodpecker has a zebra-striped back and a plain, grayish tan head and breast. They have black wings, which are spotted with white. The white spots can be seen while the bird is in flight. It has a white rear and upper tail with small dark barring. The adult males have small, red caps on the top of their head. These woodpeckers are chisel-billed and wood boring. They also have very powerful feet, extremely long tongues, and stiff spiny tails that act as tails while climbing. The Gila woodpecker reaches about 23 cm in length.

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The Gila woodpeckers all have a similar habitat. Most live in California riparian woodlands, cottonwood groves, parklands and residential neighborhoods that have tall trees all year round. Also, the Gila woodpecker is common in cactus woodlands in southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico. The Gila woodpecker is especially noisy and is known for making saguaro-hole homes. Woodpeckers tend to use the same nesting hold twice, but the holes are often taken by rodents and other animals. After constructing these holes in trees, they tend to resemble aviary apartment houses.

The diet of the Gila woodpecker consists of insects, ants and mistletoe berries in the winter. They make their homes in dead tree limbs and trunks. Females, who do not have red caps on their head, usually lay 3-5 eggs, which hatch in April. The young can fly in approx. one month and in most conditions a second brood fledges by late June.

The reasons for the decline of the Gila woodpecker are competition with European starling. Also, few healthy native woodlands remain, which force birds into less than ideal habitats.

Most people feel it is important to save wildlife, but sometimes conservation appears to interfere with other seemingly important things. If, for example, people make a living by cutting down trees, they may feel that the protection of an endangered species puts their jobs in jeopardy. Business making large profits from an industry may not want to change their practices in order to preserve species either. Governments may become involved in resolving these issues, but because of these issues, saving the wildlife is quite a difficult task.

Most endangered species are not well known. Many are not cute or appealing to humans. Nevertheless, these creatures often play vital roles in nature. They are all part of a life known to exist in the universe, and worth a great effort to keep alive in the wild habitats of this home we share.


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Endangered Species: Gila Woodpecker. (2018, Jun 06). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/gila-woodpecker-essay/