Up Close & Personal … The Pileated Woodpecker

In my Garden, Musings, Nature, Photography, Uncategorized, Up Close & Personal ...

It’s been a while since I saw a pileated woodpecker in the garden! Well technically he landed high up on one of the Doug firs just behind the fence. I look at the forest as an extension, a space that attracts an enormous number of different bird species to our small suburban garden. In the early years we would spot entire families of pileated woodpeckers visit our suet feeders. But as traffic and development have encroached, we mostly just hear them now. Their loud call is haunting and unmistakable! In the spring woodpeckers land on our shake roof and hammer away in hopes of attracting a mate.

The pileated is the largest woodpecker in North America at 16 to 19 inches (40-49 cm) and has a wingspan of about 26 to 30 inches (66-75 cm). The male sports a flaming red crest and mustache. They eat carpenter ants, insects, berries, acorns and suet at feeders.

He stayed just long enough for me to get a few photographs!
It’s been a great summer here at home for birdwatching!

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My passions in life are vegetarian cooking, gardening, photography, writing, good books, traveling and nature. Thanks for stopping by, Sabine

19 thoughts on “Up Close & Personal … The Pileated Woodpecker”

  1. Pingback: Plants | insearchofitall

  2. It’s a joy to see a pileated again in these excellent photos.

    The way they fly is funny looking but somehow gets the job done.  In the flight phase when they fold their wings briefly, they look remarkably like big black footballs thrown by unseen quarterbacks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mel! I’m glad you enjoyed these photos! I felt lucky to be right there with camera in hand when he appeared. You’re right about the flight pattern. I occasionally see them fly over here from the mountain (a nature park about 1/2 a mile from my house). They do look clumsy in the air! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You sure were lucky Sabine to get all these close-up shots of this beautiful woodpecker – I’ve never see a pileated woodpecker before. The vibrant red head and long beak made it look so striking.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I will Sabine. I hope they don’t head out of our state since we are uncharacteristically cold right now – some parts of the state have temps going down to the 40s tonight! We were quite chilly when I walked this morning – long sleeves and could have used long pants.

        I’ve been looking for Monarchs along the Creek edge where all the milkweed is growing. That milkweed never developed flowers, just leaves and I’ve been watching it all Summer and didn’t see any chomps on the leaves that would indicate Monarch caterpillars were there. The next butterfly event (strictly for Monarchs) is next Sunday and I’m thinking unless it gets any warmer, they may not be around.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The woodpeckers stay all year, Linda! They used to always come to the suet feeder during the winter. It’s been a bit cooler here as well and next week there’s several days of rainy /showery weather. Depressing!

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s good – they’d be easy to spot if you have snow. I follow a woman on Twitter – it is Jocelyn Anderson, the local photographer that I passed the link about the Sandhill Crane family and adopted gosling. Jocelyn goes to a large park every day before she starts her job (computer tech). She hand feeds birds and shows videos of woodpeckers that alight on her open palm and feast on seeds. It is wonderful to watch these videos. She feeds Blue Jays, Red-Winged Blackbirds – these are quite mean birds, but they come over, grab a peanut and often stay there to crack and finish the peanut. All this is in the middle of the woods. She also feeds the birds sunflower seeds or shelled peanuts – yesterday a dove spent two minutes eating out of her hands (it must have been heavy?). The Blue Jays were dancing around on the nearby branch as they awaited their turn. We have the same type of weather next week. So far the weekend weather looks good – I am going to a sunflower festival on Saturday and Sunday to a tour of a lighthouse. Last year I booked the lighthouse tour (once a year they open the historical lighthouse for a tour – the money collected goes to maintenance) … anyway it was a heavy rain and I didn’t go and no refund. Hopefully they are accurate as I think it will be fun for both events.

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      • Yes, I am looking forward to it Sabine – I got a season pass to this farm because I could not see getting a one-day pass and we had rain. I am not frivolous in the least, but for $15.00 more I could have four sunflower festival days to pick from (this weekend/next weekend) and the entire month of October they have harvest days with a huge pumpkin patch, corn mazes and harvest decor. So I decided to go that route. I hope to get some nice sunflower pics tomorrow. It is a sod farm, then sunflower farm in Fall and for the first time they have planted lavender fields and they will have a lavender fest next July, so I’ll plan on going there. It is not near me – out in the country and a fair drive away (as I don’t like the expressway, plus we have construction on every single expressway and most large highways as well). I’ve never been to a pumpkin patch before, so that will be fun too and a chance to use the big camera a little. I’ve gone back to the small one as sometimes it is just easier, faster and especially if rain is iffy. Not sure if I’ll take the big camera on Sunday – tight quarters as it’s a small lighthouse, but I’ll see how the weather is as there may be nice shots around it. The water level everywhere is five feet above normal – the lighthouse is on a piece of land that juts out in the open (yikes) and someone from the Historical Society of Grosse Ile escorts you to the lighthouse.


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