Friday, February 11, 2011

A Morning Visitor

Every couple of days, for several years now in the winter, we've had a morning visitor at our suet feeder.

Mrs. Pileated Woodpecker (I'm pretty sure it's a female, but feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken) comes to feast on one of the suet feeders we have hanging a short way off our front deck. She's very shy and most of the time flits away when she senses me trying to get a picture of her.

If you look at the suet balls on the left trunk in this picture you will see a Nuthatch there for size comparison.

The bird book lists pileateds as being about 16-1/2" long. They always remind me of pictures I've seen of prehistoric birds.

We've never seen Mrs. Pileated Woodpecker in the summer. When she flies away she goes into the heavy woods in back of our house where she must have ample food supply to sustain her when she doesn't require the suet.

You might be able to see the falling snow in the above pictures. We haven't had any snowfall for several days now and today's forecast isn't for any accumulation. The big, fat, lazy flakes falling sure are pretty right now. A perfect day for baking some cookies to give for Valentine's Day . . . but I'm not sure I should tempt my husband that way. He has a lot harder time resisting sweets than I do.

14 comments:

Jane said...

I love those woodpeckers. We get one that visits us sometimes. They are so beautiful. And formal.

Susan said...

We have a whole family living in the woods up the road. I love to hear them with their distinctive call. They are so elusive - but I think these weather extremes make them more desparate and seen more often.

Fiona said...

Beautiful! I've never seen a Pileated woodpecker before, though we do have a number of downy ones visiting our feeders. They're lovely, aren't they?

Anonymous said...

Oh cool! I have several of them visiting the suet as well! And yes, they grow large, I was startled one day as I saw a large movement in the woods, and it was one of these beauties pecking with such force! Good idea to put the suet "cage" against the tree...I have mine hanging and there is quite a balancing act going on, think I'll move it! :)

Erin said...

Beautiful! The one we have periodically seen is a smallish woodpecker, I would love to see the Pileated up close!

Sue said...

Lovely!
We used to have one in the yard , until dearest husband got a brilliant idea to cut down the rotted tree. No more woodpecker. Sigh.

Mama Pea said...

Jane - Formal. That's a good word to describe them!

Susan - I don't think we've ever seen more than this one. At least I think it's the same one that comes every time.

Fiona - You'll be surprised when you see one in person. They are BIG! Picture a skinny chicken perched on your suet feeder.

Rain - I wish we would be privileged to see where this one and her family (?) are nesting in our woods.

Erin - Well, your sighting may require another little trip up north!! ;o)

Sue - I would think they would have taken up residence nearby. And would still come to get food in your yard. No?

odiie said...

They are awesome birds, always remind me of Woody. Hahahahaha

Lorie said...

We get those big guys once a year, and it is really a special sight. They are so big!

Mama Pea said...

odiie - Ha! I must not have watched enough cartoons as a kid. I never thought of good ol' Woody Woodpecker. (But I have a feeling I will every time I see our pileated now!)

Lorie - Are they migrating when you get them once a year? Heck, I don't even know . . . DO they migrate?

Leigh said...

How neat! I love pileateds. They are our favorite woodpecker. I agree it's a Mrs. Males have red mustaches I believe.

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - And I think they might have a little different marking around the eyes, too.

Lisa said...

We also have Pileated Woodpeckers here in the mountains of upstate SC and love watching and hearing them. They have a neat swooping, glide way of flying through the woods and seem to be generally very shy, as you have observed. I've not been able to get a photo of ours. Maybe I need to put out suet like you do! My husband did a "search" on the old Woody cartoons, and found there was also a "Winnie"... so we named our resident family "Woody and Winnie". I enjoy your blog!

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - Hello and welcome! Thanks for commenting. We've never seen more than this one pileated but I'm sure she must have a mate. Don't you think?

You live in a beautiful part of the country!