The tapping/hammering/drumming/thumping of various woodpeckers has become another now familiar sound of the forest. Occasionally this sound is louder than usual, prompting me to quickly scan nearby trees in order to catch a glimpse of the pileated woodpecker, an unusually large bird with the signature red head (the model for Woody Woodpecker). A few weeks ago I spotted this one quite close to the house, right where the grass meets the woods. I was in such a hurry to take photos that it didn’t occur to me to try to get closer (the height of the tree put it out of the zoom range of the lens I
broke mentioned in the last post). I had seen a few previously, but didn’t have any “proof” until now.
I have learned that pileated woodpeckers prefer to eat carpenter ants (please keep them out of my house!) and wood-boring beetle larvae (yum!). I never thought about there being so many insects living in the wood of trees until I noticed how many woodpeckers there are, most of them smaller, yet all seem to be some combination of black and white. I am still surprised by the size of the pileated woodpecker when I see it and to me it holds the same awe of seeing some rare, exotic creature.