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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Piliated Woodpecker Pays a Visit

I often hear him up in the treetops, but today, a Piliated Woodpecker came by to check out the delicacies in our feeder, down at the street level. I did a study of him in photographs, below. 

He's quite a large bird. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, "the Pileated Woodpecker is one of the biggest, most striking forest birds on the continent. It’s nearly the size of a crow, black with bold white stripes down the neck and a flaming-red crest. Look (and listen) for Pileated Woodpeckers whacking at dead trees and fallen logs in search of their main prey, carpenter ants, leaving unique rectangular holes in the wood. The nest holes these birds make offer crucial shelter to many species including swifts, owls, ducks, bats, and pine martens."

Pileated Woodpeckers are quite vocal, typically making a high, clear, series of piping calls that lasts several seconds. The sound is quite similar to a Northern Flicker’s rattling call, although it tends to be more resonant and less even in tone, with changing emphasis or rhythm during the call. Pileated Woodpeckers also give shorter calls that sound like wuk, wukor cuk, cuk to indicate a territory boundary or to give an alarm. Listen to sound samples here: 

Here are the photos:

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