Fun in the sun at the Black Butte burn

Sarah, Andie the dog, and I were joined by our friends Bob and Sally as we visited the Black Butte wildfire site this morning. We hoped to find some Black-Backed Woodpeckers tapping the trees that were burned in 2009. As we hiked through the shrubs and debris, we found some House Wrens and Chipping Sparrows, but they were upstaged by Andie's antics.

 She dug a herself a shallow depression and lay in it while we listened for birds.

Next, she rolled in the dusty soil and changed the color of her pelage.

Then she hid in the shade of a big pine snag.

Though woodpeckers eluded us, we did find a very cool beetle that fills a similar niche.

This western eyed click beetle appeared to be depositing her eggs in a small cavity excavated by a woodpecker that was searching for bark beetle larva. The larva of this species are predatory worm-like creatures that hunt for bark beetles in fire-killed trees. Just like the woodpeckers!

The temperature began to rise as it neared noon, so we left the burn for shadier sites near the Metolius River.


  1. Nice photographs. I grew up in Bend, as a teen in the early 60's fought fires on Black Butte, and used to take supplies up to the then working fire lookout on top. Black Butte has burned many times, but some of the ponderosa pines always seem to survive.
    I also remember when Black Butte Ranch was a real, working ranch. Bend was around 9K population when I graduated high school, I went back last summer and literally didn't recognize most of the city.
    Thanks for the memories.

  2. Thanks the recollections. I get the feeling that most towns in this area have changed a lot since the mid-century. I also get the feeling that these mountains are no stranger to fire.

  3. Neat post Max. May these click beetle larva destroy many, many bark beetles during their larval stage...mwuahahahaha.

    Birding in a recently burned forest is very interesting. The biodiversity is maybe lower than normal, but there' more clearance and light than usual, so whatever is around is often more visible than usual. Still, you can sense the loss. The woods are more quiet and everything seems to move slower than it should, as if the forest is still in a state a mourning.

    Black-backed Woodpeckers are such neat birds. Though their specialization in burned woods renders them a less populous species, it's still special. I wish they came down to Arizona; we could've used them in the bark beetle war along the Mogollon Rim these last 10 years.

    Thanks for sharing

  4. Hi,
    My name is Sarah and I'm with Dwellable. I was looking for blog posts about Black Butte to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, drop me a line at Sarah(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you :)


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