Friday, February 17, 2017

Pileated Woodpecker




 We enjoy watching the birds at our feeders.  We've had quite a variety of birds visit our suet and our bird feeding station this winter.  This morning, Grayden took the most marvelous photos of an elusive, shy bird--The Pileated Woodpecker (Drycopus pileatus)!  This is one bird that we have never seen at our suet feeder.






When we are out in our garden working or walking in our neighborhood we often hear the call of this large bird.  Call and drumming of Pileated Woodpecker  They  are quite hard to see.  Always going to the other side of the tree, they elude our viewing.  Once you've seen one, you wonder if he is a tropical bird.  His head is very small compared to his large body.  Winter is your best time to see one when the leaves are not on the trees and live within this area.


Range of pileated woodpecker


This woodpecker was declining while most of our heavily forested areas have been cleared.  He is making quite a comeback in a lot of areas where there are still large trees.


  

The majority of their diet is the eating of carpenter ants and wood-boring beetle larvae.  They do enjoy fruit, nuts and seeds.  Suet is another treat that they enjoy as we have observed.  This is the first year we've had them visit our suet. 

I was also lucky to be able to take a few more photos as the Pileated Woodpecker returned this afternoon.  An adult is 16 - 19 inches long.  His wing span is 26 - 30 inches. The male has a red streak under his cheek.  We noticed he has a red streak along the jaw as opposed to no red streak on the female.




As we were about to sit down for dinner I spotted a pair at the feeder.  I quickly grabbed my camera and was able to capture a so so photo of the pair.  The blur is the window pane.  They can quickly eat a new suet in a couple of days.  I wonder if they are going to call their cousins and aunts and uncles to visit.





Have you ever seen a Pileated Woodpecker?  We've been quite excited to view them closer than ever.









30 comments:

  1. We have one that is often in the tree right outside at the edge of our back stoop. The first time I saw him I couldn't believe it. I think they look almost like a prehistoric bird.
    You got some great pictures! xo Diana

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    1. Diana, I agree they are quite odd looking! Have a nice weekend. xo ♥

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  2. Oh! My! Martha Ellen! Wow! That is one magnificent bird, then you had two! That's wonderful and so magical. That beak looks menacing, and that call is quite something too, thank you for the link. We have woodpeckers here sometimes, Lesser Spotted {mostly} or Green here but oh! they are so tricky to capture on the camera, as you say, always around the other side, and always hopping about too.
    Well done to Grayden indeed for these captures! What a rare treat!
    ~~~Waving from Across the Pond~~~Deb in Wales xo

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    1. Deb, we have been so thrilled to have this pair choose our suet feeder to visit. It's a real treat for a cold winter afternoon. Thank you for sharing in our excitement. I hope your weekend is wonderful, dear friend. xoxo ♥

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  3. Because my neighbor's trees are ancient, I do see a lot of pileated woodpeckers...a whole lot of drumming going on for insects. I even have a photo, but it is not a good one like yours and Grayden's.

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    1. They are such unusual birds, Vee. Their drumming and calls are quite distinctive aren't they? Sending warm hugs to you, my friend. ♥

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  4. The woodpeckers are so vibrant in color.. nice captures..

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    1. They are very colorful and enormous eaters! Thank you Krishna. ♥

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  5. Oh! I forgot to tell you, I made honey-oat bread according to your recipe, they turned out very good...Thanks for the recipe..

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    1. I'm so glad you tried it! It's time for me to make more! ♥

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  6. I always enjoy seeing these woodpeckers. They are so large and impressive. They are very wary and hard to capture a picture of. Our suet feeder holds the suet in an upside down manner and they can't get to it but I hear them in the spring pounding away on the trees! I've seen trees that they've started chiseling away on and it's shocking how they can literally make a pile of shavings and giant holes! You guys have captured some great shots of birds lately!

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    1. They are really something, Liz. I've seen the holes that they make as well. Have you noticed the holes are rectangular? Our neighbors have a rotten tree that they are going after. I sure hope they have it removed as it's close to our fence. Have a nice weekend. ♥

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  7. Oh Martha Ellen, these are really cool pictures of the Woodpecker. Such a funny little bird, isn't he? Ours are a bit different looking, and are called the red-headed Woodpecker. This close-up picture with its full head of red feathers is so cute. I love that last picture that you took of the two of them enjoying their food. You and Grayden took some fantastic photos of this special bird.

    ~Sheri

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    1. It's been exciting for us to have these beauties so close to our home! I know you enjoy viewing all the pretty wildlife in you area. Have a nice weekend. ♥

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  8. Oh, how lovely to see these Pileated Woodpecker's.
    You have shared some lovely photographs and to get the two of them ... amazing.

    Good wishes for the weekend

    All the best Jan

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    1. Jan, we were so surprised to see a pair. Enjoy the weekend. ♥

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  9. Beautiful photos, Martha Ellen! And yes, we have pileated woodpeckers in our neck of the woods. I see them every now and then in our yard. They have such an unusual call and I'm sure that the pileated is the kind of bird that Fred Flintstone kept as a pet. :-)

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    1. Lol, Judy! I agree that Fred and the gang enjoyed these strange birds! Have a great weekend. ♥

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  10. What a handsome fellow. I'm not sure we have them, but we do hear woodpeckers, out of sight usually. They like to peck on our gutters, quite a loud sound! You took some great photos!

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    1. Thank you Dotsie. We've had a visit with them daily now. I think they will eat us out of house and home! ♥

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  11. I've never had that privilege. Those birds look absolutely prehistoric to me. I've heard from friends who live in the country that these birds do live in central Illinois and are seen often, but in town where I live they do not show. I don't blame them. I'd rather hang out in the fields and forests too!

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    1. They are quite the odd birds of the lot, Debbie. I remember the first time I saw one I thought it was tropical. Have a nice weekend. ♥

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  12. What gorgeous birds... and now you you have a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers coming to dinner! Kudos to both you and Grayden for the wonderful photos! Thank you for sharing the map. Now I will be on the lookout for these beauties here in northern Illinois. I often hear woodpeckers at work nearby, but I have never spotted them. This was the weekend of the Great Backyard Bird Count. So happy for your special visitors, Martha Ellen! Hope they continue to visit often! Sending warm, sunny hugs today! ♡

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    1. Dawn, it's been quite exciting to have this pair in our backyard! Today was beautiful (high of 72 degrees). We were playing bocce ball with Miles and the male did not like that we were playing nearby. He kept flying from limb to limb trying to tell us to go inside. After our game we did see him fly to the suet feeder, but we didn't see the female today. I read that the Great Backyard Bird Count was this weekend. If we weren't so busy we would have participated. I hope you do see these elusive birds one day, my friend. Have a nice week ahead! ♥

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  13. I've never seen a Pileated Woodpecker in person, only in picures, but you took some really nice pictures!

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    1. Pilar, we love watching the different birds that come to our feeders. It was so exciting to see the Pileated Woodpecker. I hope you week goes well. ♥

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  14. What a beautiful bird and great photos. I've never seen a Pileated Woodpecker, I don't know if we have them here in the UK.

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    1. I don't know either, Polly. Thank you for stopping by. ♥

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  15. I love woodpeckers. The ones we have here are not as exotic, more grey, but still industrious. Great photos!
    Amalia
    xo

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  16. Wow! Grayden sure did get some fabulous shots of this handsome fellow! (He'll be wanting to start his own blog!)

    We used to see woodpeckers frequently at The Farmhouse, but we only saw a pileated woodpecker a time or two. They are beautiful birds!

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