Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pileated Woodpecker—Part II

As I watched this male pileated woodpecker hammer a decaying log, I kept wondering why he frequently paused to raise his bill.
At first I thought it was a defense or alert posture. But as I continued to observe, I realized he was eating, swallowing the larvae he had uncovered in his excavations. What a delight to find this bird feeding, poised at eye level, absorbed in his dining. The sky was overcast and the time after 6:00 pm so the images are not as clear as I would wish, but they give you the feeling of this bird's presence and behavior. In Tennessee, pileated woodpeckers, which occupy mature forests, are loyal to their territory and their mates year round. And that is exciting for me because I have seen this male and female several times. Eggs are laid in excavated holes in dead trunks or dead portions of trees from April to early May. Incubation lasts 18 days and the young leave the nest in 28 days. My breeding atlas says that the young and parents may stay together for three months! That means that, should I be so lucky, I may see this pair and their young foraging together. Fun thought.
As you can see in the image below (he's just to the right of the tree base), this male is on the edge of our yard, just before it disappears into a wooded area. Our yard is surrounded by mature trees, some in various stages of aging and decay. Perfect habitat for these and many other woodpeckers. Heavenly habitat.
There's that angelic face again...
When I hear this bird's call, I'm out the door. It has a distinctive ring to it that clearly says, come see me!

Visit the 100th edition of I and the Bird at Nature Blog Network, featuring my post "Pileated Woodpecker Heaven" and a whole award-winning celebration of other great posts from the Nature Blog Network community!

10 comments:

  1. What a neat opportunity to watch this birds behavior.

    ReplyDelete
  2. WOW. I wish I'd seen mine so close!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Pecker heaven... You're lucky ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Such a sweet face, and there is something quaint about them also. Maybe it's just my memories of old Woody Woodpecker cartoons. I've seen other birds raising their bills like that. It probably does make it easier to swallow. It will be great if you get to see a family of them.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Fingers crossed for your engaging with the entire family!

    Thanks so much for sharing :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. AWESOME PICTURES!!!! I can't believe how close up your camera was able to get to him. I will cross my fingers that you get to see their young. My favorite woodpecker by far

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow, lucky you, especially if they raise their young within your orbit. What an opportunity for day to day observation and you dont even have to leave your own yard.
    Grat photos, I look forward to many more.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Cool....I love these big guys. What luck...and maybe a chance to see the babies...wonderful!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. One of my first bird-watching memories was of a family of pileated woodpeckers in my parents' backyard as a kid. They definitely enchanted me even then! I hope you'll keep us posted on your sightings, and (fingers crossed!) of any successes at raising a family right in YOUR backyard!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I sooo enjoy all these post that you have with the photos of the birdies in action as they hunt, peck and do the things they do...
    Great shots...thanks

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Ocean Trail at Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, California--2015

Ocean Trail at Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, California--2015

Bird-banding at Seven Islands State Birding Park--2014

Bird-banding at Seven Islands State Birding Park--2014
Photo courtesy of Jody Stone

Bird-banding at Seven Islands

Bird-banding at Seven Islands
Photo courtesy of Karen Wilkenson

Enjoying Gray Jays in Churchill!--2014

Enjoying Gray Jays in Churchill!--2014
Photo courtesy of Blue Sky Expeditions

Smithsonian National Zoo with one of my Whooping Crane banners and son, John--2014

Smithsonian National Zoo with one of my Whooping Crane banners and son, John--2014

The Incredible Muir Woods near Stinson Beach, CA--2014

The Incredible Muir Woods near Stinson Beach, CA--2014
Photo courtesy of Wendy Pitts Reeves

Me and Denali--2012

Me and Denali--2012
Photo courtesy of Bob King

For the Love of It...

...the sage sees heaven reflected in Nature as in a mirror, and he pursues this Art, not for the sake of gold or silver, but for the love of the knowledge which it reveals.
Sendivogius (1750)

Your Uncapped Creativity...

Your Uncapped Creativity...
"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action; and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. You must keep that channel open. It is not for you to determine how good it is, nor how valuable. Nor how it compares with other expressions. It is for you to keep it yours, clearly and directly." ----the great dancer, Martha Graham