Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Delightful Pileated Woodpecker

A Pileated Woodpecker scans his surroundings.
I don’t believe I’ve ever, in my entire life, caught sight of a Pileated Woodpecker and not stopped whatever I was doing simply to observe the largest of North America’s woodpeckers at work. And if their presence was made known audibly by a loud, ringing cuck cuck cuck, that too was cause to scan the immediate area in search of a dark, crow-sized bird with white neck stripes and a prominent red crest atop its head. Even on the fly there is no mistaking the Pileated Woodpecker’s undulating flight pattern, or those easy to spot white markings on the underside of their wings.
What's for lunch today?
Although we’ve not yet heard their tell-tale call in the winter months spotting them has not been difficult. With zero foliage they are easier to espy, whether on the wing while passing through the open woodlands or alternately probing and hammering away at tree bark.  
This male is taking a brief break from drilling for his next meal.
In recent days, with arctic air invading the area, the Pileated Woodpecker was a sight to behold for sure as evidenced by this male in a large Cottonwood tree. He seemed oblivious to the cold, undeterred by single digit and even below zero temps. Personally, we found him to be a natural delight, both entertaining, amusing and a joy to watch.

Until next time,
Jim & Claudia