Last week, I was blessed with being able to get a great photo shot of a Pileated woodpecker in the backyard of my home. I see these birds from time to time but can never get a good shot of them. I had just come home and looked out the back window and there this bird was. A loud truck had come down the street and scared him further back in the yard. So at that point I left the house and followed him.
He was making his rounds on several trunks. He actually returned to a tree that recently had a huge hole put in the trunk by himself or one of his buddies. A few minutes later he flew over to some logs waiting to be split for firewood which is where this shot is from. Once I downloaded them from my camera, I was delighted to see how beautiful of bird he is. It was the best of about 25 or so and cropped to show more detail. He then flew away to the property behind mine and there was another in the tree. That was the first time I actually saw two together. It is amazing what goes on outside our houses. We just have to look around.
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Nearly as large as a crow, the Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in most of North America. Its loud ringing calls and huge, rectangular excavations in dead trees announce its presence in forests across the continent.
Here are some facts from Cornell Lab of Orinthology:
- The Pileated Woodpecker digs characteristically rectangular holes in trees to find ants. These excavations can be so broad and deep that they can cause small trees to break in half.
- A Pileated Woodpecker pair stays together on its territory all year round. It will defend the territory in all seasons, but will tolerate floaters during the winter.
- The feeding excavations of a Pileated Woodpecker are so extensive that they often attract other birds. Other woodpeckers, as well as House Wrens, may come and feed there.
- The Pileated Woodpecker prefers large trees for nesting. In young forests, it will use any large trees remaining from before the forest was cut. Because these trees are larger than the rest of the forest, they present a lightning hazard to the nesting birds.
- Size: 40-49 cm (16-19 in)
- Wingspan: 66-75 cm (26-30 in)
- Weight: 250-350 g (8.83-12.36 ounces)