Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pileated Woodpecker

I may have mentioned before that my son is into birds, and since he lives with me that mean that by default, I too, am interested in birds. Not as much as him but more than I used to be. This translates into me looking whenever I see or hear a bird, and the other day while walking I spotted this guy way up above me in a tall pine tree.

photo courtesy of National Audubon - click to go



He was hammering away at the tree and I watched him for a while. Sometimes they can be shy but I got a good look at him and remembered what my son told me about them. How their heads are specially designed to withstand the hammering and protect their little brains. That they're the largest woodpecker in the U.S. (except for the Ivory Billed which is likely exinct), they drum to claim territory (I've heard it and it's pretty cool), they hammer to find insects, and their call sounds prehistoric.


How a about you? Seen anything interesting lately?

48 comments:

  1. You got a great shot of him! I've seen a couple woodpeckers around here, but only from afar. Still amazing it doesn't hurt their head to hammer.

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    1. That pic is from the Audobon website and clicking will take you there. Birds are very hard to capture on camera; I stick to things that don't move!

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  2. There's a woodpecker in my area who likes to wake me up in the morning by hammering the side of my house right outside my bedroom window.

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    1. The guy I saw lives close by - we've been seeing him around - but thankfully does not think our house has insects in it (although sadly it does!).

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  3. seen hawks and owls in my yard, which scared me to no end since I live in a city. What's next? Condors in the city?

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    1. hawks and owls aren't anything to be scared of - not for you, anyway. Just get your kitty in at night if you have one :)

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    2. hawk caught a sparrow in flight and tore his neck off, the owl tried to hunt down my kitties, and then my kitty ate a head of a white dove ..... really a bird nightmare for me :)

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    3. oh, dear, that's awful Dez :(

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  4. My favorite are the little downy woodpeckers. They're tiny and speckled and flit around really fast so they're hard to see for long. I'm not sure we get the pileated woodpeckers here. We might, but they're rare. I'm guessing they like forests.

    And, um, yeah, I'm a little into birds, since I was a naturalist at a park for three years. :P

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    1. now, why did I not know that last info, Luanne?

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  5. I saw a video on Facebook of a teenage boy who nursed a baby hummingbird back to health, and then it was his adorable best friend. That was the cutest bird-thing I've seen in awhile.

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    1. I'm going to have to look for that; sounds adorable :)

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  6. That is a beautiful bird! I've seen a bluejay around from time to time, but mostly it's all robins around me.

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    1. I like robins; the sing happy songs :)

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  7. We see some pretty cool birds around here all the time (hawks, bluebirds, bluejays, magpies...) and I'm always trying to get a picture of them but for some reason as soon as I turn my camera on they fly away. It has nothing to do with my movement, just turning the camera on. Go figure. Great picture. You should use that for your header next time- or next spring. Cheers!

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    1. I would use it if it was mine but it was on the Audubon site, no info on who took the pic originally. It sure is a good one!

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  8. I don't think I've seen any interesting birds recently. But just this morning I noticed the black walnut tree already has dead leaves falling to the ground.

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    1. Oh no! Don't say that!

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    2. And guess what? Wednesday night we took a drive and trees were already started to change. What the flip? It's too soon, too soon, I say. Too soon.

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  9. We have lots of woodpeckers in the desert, believe it or not. I like them, as long as they're not pecking away at the side of my house! :)

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    1. I've never had one peck at my house *knock on wood*

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  10. He looks so cute. We have quite a few birds at our house too because we have a bird feeder. I love watching them while I'm at the kitchen sink.

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    1. I'd like to have a feeder but I have cats.

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  11. I've never seen a woodpecker before! Probably because I live in L.A. where there are more buildings than trees! A beautiful bird!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. Isn't he though! I'll bet there's some cool birds out your way - even in the city.

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  12. Apart from the baby goose whose mother abandoned her and has now got my teddy as a mate and living temporarily in the kitchen.

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    1. omg, that's so cute! And sweet of you to give up teddy :)

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  13. What a stunningly great photo. A bright yellow bird flitted in front of my car last week - too fast to know what it was. I see owls sometimes, which are really neat.

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  14. I get quite a few of the smaller ones in my yard. I put out suet blocks to attract them. I love to hear them rat-a-tat-ing away.

    That's a beautiful photo.

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    1. It's a gorgeous photo, but not mine. It's on the Audubon site but without any attribution so I don't know who the photographer is.

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  15. Have you ever seen a flock of parrots? They are super cool. We have them down here in Mexico and because they are green you often can't see them in the trees but you can hear them because they make a lot of noise.

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    1. A flock of parrots must be an amazing sight to see!

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  16. the heat seems to be driving the wildlife out into the open. We saw a momma turkey and three little ones a few days ago and yesterday a doe and two fawns played in our backyard for an hour while we were in the pool.

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    1. I saw baby turkeys a few years ago while walking in the woods - talk about cute!

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  17. I lived in Massachusetts for many years and remember the red-headed woodpeckers there. I love North Eastern birds and wildlife (with the exception of skunks, right?). My favorites were the cardinals, though. Nothing looks as good as cardinals in the snow. :-)

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    1. That's where I grew up - and yes, cardinals are awful pretty in winter. And you are correct about the skunks. We are not so fond of them as we once were.

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  18. I've seen those beautiful pileated woodpeckers around my home too. We had one that seemed to enjoy drumming a metal ladder we had out one summer; I think the sound traveled farther and it certainly was louder than drumming a tree. My husband was less appreciative of that sound at 5 a.m. so he moved the ladder back inside the garage.
    Lately, we've had a huge number of cotton tailed rabbits, and several deer - all eating our plants. However, we keep most of our fruits and veggies inside a fence and we haven't been keeping up with our "front" garden, so they are welcome to trim all those plants for us.

    BTW - read your last post too, and Congrats on your award!

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    1. They can be loud, but I must be used to it or they never hammer too close to the house. We don't have cotton tails up here :(

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  19. I love walking my dog in the mornings because there is a woodpecker who always seems to be active around the time we are out walking. I love hearing him even though he kind of annoys my dog because he can't figure out where the pecking noise is coming from. I just love the sounds of nature. :)

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    1. My dog must not be as smart as yours; he paid no attention to the woodpecker.

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  20. Woodpeckers are totally cool, and I like the sound of their rhythmic pecking... EXCEPT for the year one kept drilling the downspout (right outside our bedroom window!) and fiberglass canoe before the butt crack of dawn every day.

    Most interesting sighting we've had here recently is a bald eagle flying over our house. We've lived here for more than forty years, and that's the FIRST time we ever spotted an eagle here. We were as excited as a couple of kids.

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    1. That's one thing I like about living where I do, lots of wildlife and lots of birds. We have some Ospreys nesting nearby, which is pretty neat .

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  21. We have an aviary here that has some rare condors. I've got to make time to go and see it before the summer ends.

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    1. You should! That would be a cool place to visit.

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  22. How about a crow that quacks like a duck? We've had one in the parking lot of our condo complex this summer -- so weird. And funny. Looking forward to seeing all the wildlife @ Sebec Lake in Maine next month!

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    1. August is usually the best month. I hope you have a wonderful time :)

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