Pileated Woodpecker in my backyard

pileated-woodpecker4Okay, excuse me while I flip out — but I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen one of these guys — then this afternoon, didn’t I walk out my back door and see a Pileated Woodpecker working the bark of a tree, right here in the ‘burbs!

If you’ve never seen one — you know right away it’s a Pileated because they’re BIG. Crow size.  Of course, if you can get a close enough look you will also see the “woody woodpecker” red crest like shows up in this pic.


I wish my pics had come out clearer. I actually got quite close, but he was on the shady side of the tree so the clarity isn’t the best . . .

For most of the time I watched him, he was working one particular crack in the tree. This pic shows how they use their tails to brace themselves.  He’s twisted his head around to try to work something out from under the bark. Late lunch :-)

Here’s one more that I didn’t crop as much so you can see more what he looked like when I first noticed him.

pileated-woodpecker2Pileated Woodpeckers need a habitat with mature forest and lots of deadwood. Must be there’s enough of the stuff he likes in Brighton . . . I sure hope so, would love to see this fellow again sometime!

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6 Responses to Pileated Woodpecker in my backyard

  1. Duke of Earle says:

    Aren’t they cool? I’ve yet to see one in my back yard, but the frequent the golf course where we play. Carol has some excellent shots of them in that locale. One of us will spot one and cal to the other, “Pile-ey!”

    Oh, and I meant to include that just yesterday we saw a bird in our backyard we’ve NEVER seen before. It flew off while Caorl was running for the camera, but from its unique appearance we’re pretty sure it was a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. See this site for pics: http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/205/_/Rose-breasted_Grosbeak.aspx


  2. Kirsten says:

    I love rose breasted grosbeaks! And they have a beautiful song — find an audio of one online if you can and then keep your ears open, you’ll probably hear it around if you have one. Another sound they make is exactly like a sneaker squeak on a gym floor — you’ll hear them make that noise when they’re hanging around in the tree tops looking for lunch :-)

  3. dad says:

    The pileated woodpecker is one of the cases where adaption has helped it survive. Once this bird needed continiously wooded forest and wouldn’t fly across open areas if it’s home range was without adequate food. As a result it was disappearing and headed for extinction. Fortunately, and unlike its Ivory Billed cousin, it learned to adapt and now will wander in search of food. A tip off to its feeding habit is a lot of woodchips on the ground and the tell-tale square hole it makes. We have several that habitate this area, one of which flew into our house but survived–after shaking off a big headache.
    For a good picture of a rose-breasted grosbeak go to my blog jimmortensen.com and search under Birds. I have several. We have three pairs that come to our feeder beginning in midMay.

  4. Paul says:

    Mort- Pileated Woodpeckers are great birds- I love it! Here in Seattle we do not see them :(. How is everything? Shoot me an email when you can. All is well- traveling a great deal for my job and studying for Ed.D at the University of Washington.



  5. Kirsten says:

    Hey Paul! I will drop you a line. Back to school again at your advanced age?!?!?!


  6. Adam says:

    I don’t know where you live, but we live right in the city (Park Ave). In the summer, I hear these guys most days on my walk to work. You wouldn’t expect that they would be here in the middle of the city, but they are…

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