Monday, May 4, 2009

Pileated Woodpecker Heaven

And that's not so much a place, as it is a moment. A moment that lasted for more than 25 minutes.
It was one of those times when a call lured me out the door, though I wasn’t sure right away what I heard. Within seconds I spotted a female pileated woodpecker on a fallen tree trunk, less than ten feet away and no camera! So I hurried back inside, changed my camera's lens, retrieved the digital card from the reader and grabbed my shoes, hoping she might be there when I returned.
As I stepped out to find her, I caught a glimpse of a second pileated woodpecker. Amazing what a long day of rain can bring. The female flew before I got an image but below is a photo I took of her April 1st. She was flighty and busy and on that day she gave me one shot.
Notice how her crest starts back from her forehead and her mustache stripe is totally black. The male's crest comes down further on his forehead and he has red in his mustache stripe.
Now meet her handsome partner. Steady, determined, a mighty hammer and a delight to watch, the male is pictured in the images below. I’ve included both the clear and fuzzy images so you can see his personality, that adorable face and what magic it was to watch him. In the first couple of images he has his grand crest all fluffed up. I don't know what stirred this excitement.
I have more to show you later.
Meanwhile, let your dead limbs lie, your stumps hang around to decay, your dead tree trucks remain where they stand. Your property will mean more to our bird community and you will gain more pleasure than any manicured yard can ever provide.
Linked to Bird Photography Weekly #36 at Bird Freak.com to promote the conservation of our world’s birds.

19 comments:

  1. Beautiful shots - one of my favorite bird's. So lucky to have them just outside your door!

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  2. Great captures! we have them in our back garden too- but they never come down that far- just stay in the tree tops :)

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  3. I can imagine enjoying 25 minutes of hammering, what a sighting.

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  4. ...a fantastic series of photos! I saw a male and female Pileated Woodpecker on the trail this weekend, but the certainly did not hang around for 25 minutes. How thrilling that must have been. They are so beautiful...and right in your own backyard too!

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  5. I could feel your every move as this has happened to me many times...really neat, Vickie! Great photos of a heavenly sight ;-)

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  6. Oh, that was certainly a charmed moment! Beautiful! (Can't wait to see what you draw from it.) I wish you were close by enough to join our new co-op gallery!

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  7. Thanks for showing the differences between the female and male!
    I love his quirky poses! What fun!

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  8. I love these Woodpeckers! Wonderful photos and story!

    I can't access anything on birdfreak.com. The site says nothing is here. I wanted to post my BPW. Must be a problem with the server.

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  9. Great shots! Thanks for the description in the difference of the male and female.

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  10. What cool birds and even cooler to have them in your yard! I am having a major attack of pileated-envy. Terrific photos!

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  11. Excellent shots, Vickie! We had our own 25 minutes with a Pileated when we visited Florida last month. They are such a thrill to watch.

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  12. Beautiful bird with great heavenly red cap.

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  13. A very interesting bird and a great series of photos - as usual!

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  14. Unbelievable captures Vickie! You are so blessed with the birds all around you. Are they pairing up to nest now?

    I have to drive a long way to see these gorgeous birds but I found a nest sight last year in Lassen National Park and I'm hoping to be able to get some good shots of the pair there. According to Cornell Lab, they stay in their territory year round so I'm hoping they may be nesting in the same tree.

    If I was able to get half as good looks at this magnificent woodpecker as you have, I would be a happy man ;-)

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  15. Beautiful sequence, Vickie
    that is a good one to have in your garden list.

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  16. Award for Best Ground-bound Woodpecker. Congratulation!

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  17. What wonderful photos. I remember many mornings waking to the sound of these guys pounding on a telephone pole right outside our family summer home on Orcas Island. I never minded; I loved (and still loving) seeing these magnificent birds.

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  18. Hi Vickie - what a great long look you had at these gorgeous woodpeckers! I just looked up the best place to see them in my neck of the woods - I think it's high time I see one "in person" too!

    I love the male with his crest up - fantastic photo!

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  19. Lovin all your Pileated stories :o) I also appreciated getting a real glimpse of the male and female differences. I can't believe I didn't already know! Great to know now, that my lovely "Lady" bird was who I had a special encounter last fall.

    ~ Sherrie (Bird Lady)

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