5:20 am, Latigo

A male Gila woodpecker holds a moth in his beak as he perches outside his nest in an angled arm of a saguaro on the Latigo Trail in the Pima Dynamite area of McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona in June 2019

Usually I see woodpecker nests in vertical saguaro arms but this male and his mate had chosen an angled arm. At 5:20 am with the sun about to rise they were already bringing food to the nest, in this case a moth. Given the angle to the sun I wasn’t sure if the light would illuminate them when the sun came up or if the saguaro would cast them in shadow, and I still don’t know, as while they brought food to the nest at first they started holding back. Raising young is precarious and stressful enough so while I suspected they would quickly come to not see me as a threat I didn’t want to risk it and continued up the trail.

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