Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Thunk, thunk … thunk

Got out of the car, grabbed the pack and camera and headed for the house. Thunk, thunk … Thunk ...Thunk sounded from behind the house. The sound of a pileated woodpecker chiseling into a dead tree on the hunt for the carpenter ants or beetle larvae within; it sounded as if it was high in a tree.

There it was, way up in a tulip-poplar chipping into a large dead limb –

The bird had a black “mustache” mark on its cheek, extending from the base of the bill, which marked this bird as a female –

She continued working on the dead limb and moved to another spot on the limb as she fed –

Surprisingly she continued working as I slowly approached and, unsuccessfully, maneuvered for a view unblocked by small branches –

She repeatedly chopped into the dead limb, rearing back as pileated woodpeckers do to deliver a forceful strike –

Each time the bird thrust its beak into the wood inertia caused its crest to fly forward –

Meanwhile from not far behind me another pileated woodpecker called repeatedly and then swooped in to land on a nearby red maple. The tree had a small hole indicative of an internal problem –

This woodpecker was a male as shown by his red “mustache”.

The hole warranted an examination by the new arrival

He proceeded to go to work on the tree searching for the insects in the tree’s decayed interior –

Watch the chips fly –

Pileated woodpeckers are often quite wary, but some tolerate humans. This pair, which resides in the neighborhood, puts up with its human neighbors most of the time. We’re glad to have them here.


Barbara Rogers said...

Oh I'd love to see neighbors like this pair. Of course not if I wanted to be asleep at the same time, probably! Great photos, and if I ever run into a Piliated, now I know the way to sex them!

The Furry Gnome said...

I've never been close enough to see the 'mustache'! Wonderful to have them living so close.

Lady Fi said...

I love the sound of woodpeckers. Nice shots!

Marcia said...

They are fascinating birds. The ones that lived around our house in the woods in MD were very shy. We'd hear them more than we saw them. They never visited the bird feeders. Thanks for sharing.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What a handsome fella! They sure can peck a big hole too. I used to call it a jungle bird because of the sound it makes when it's flying through the woods. Great photos! Enjoy your weekend!

eileeninmd said...

Great post on the Pileated Woodpecker! I enjoyed your photos and the video!
Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, wishing you a happy weekend!

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Amazing birds! And you got some great photos of them. Sometimes they focus so intently on the insects they're after, you can almost touch them, if they're low enough on the trunk.

Rain said...

Those are beautiful birds, great shots Woody. I loved seeing the male peeking into the hole!

Kim S. said...

You got home just in time! Didn't know the male & female marking difference. Now know to pay closer attention (isn't that our main life lesson?!). This brought back memories of a well-whittled cherry tree in our yard in Marietta, OH back in the 90s. It was such a thrill to watch that industrious bird and now to enjoy those pileateds in your neighborhood. Thanks for sharing. Kim in PA