Essay, Research Paper: Gila Woodpecker


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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. 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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