acorn or nuttall's woodpecker
by James Hedges
(New York, NY)
Posted to a friend's Facebook wall. Was found in a house in California. She took it to a wildlife center who identified it as a Acorn Woodpecker. That doesn't seem right to me, considering, for example, that it doesn't have a black back or chest. My guess was Nuttall's Woodpecker, with black-and-white barred back, and unbarred black region at top of back.
Please help us solve this mystery! Thank you very much!
It's always harder confirming the identity of baby birds. I don't believe it is an Acorn Woodpecker and it took me some time to determine it isn't a Ladder-backed Woodpecker. A Ladder-backed's black facial stripes are not joined to the black on the back, whereas a Nuttall's stripes are joined to a black patch on the upper back. I believe you're correct; that it is a Nuttall's Woodpecker.
Darling little thing, isn't it. Hope it survives.
Your friend was absolutely correct in taking it to a wildlife center.