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!
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.