Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Big Guy (Or I Should Say Girl)

For a few years now we've had what we assume to be a pair of pileated woodpeckers living in our woods. Winter before last, we saw both of them together at this same suet feeder a couple of times. Last winter I think we only sighted one of them maybe twice.

Thursday when I returned from a short foray into the outside world, Roy reported he had seen a pileated on the feeder. That was our first sighting this year. Then yesterday morning he came down from his office to find me, because Mrs. Pileated was again visiting.

I wish the pictures were better, but I was thrilled to get what I did without scaring her away. The top one was taken through a window and a screen so I'm happy it turned out as well as it did.

I was able to get the last two shots by oh-so-carefully opening the door to the deck, and although clearer, they are darker than I would like. After she ate her fill of suet, she attached herself to this big birch, puffed up her feathers and took a nice, long sunbath. Now we'll be keeping an eye out for her mate. Wonder if I could be lucky enough to get a shot of both together?


Chicken Mama said...

Wow! Very cool, Mama! We discovered a pileated's nest this past spring H-I-G-H up in a dead tree, but we've never been able to see them up so close(ly)!

I'll bet Ruthie, being the birder that she is, will be excited to see these pictures! Unless they're common down in southern MN. Ruthie?

Also, it might help for folks who aren't familiar with these huge birds to mention that they're about 19" long!!!

Mama Pea said...

What did the nest look like? Why have I always had the idea they nest in hollow trees? Like in the cavity?

This gal was on the smaller side . . . we guessed about 12-14"? I wonder if she was just a teenager, hatched this spring?

Sure a lot I don't know about our birds. Ruthie???

Annie said...

Very cool. I'm in southern Mn, but I don't know if we have them here.

Jim said...

The pics are great! It's always so fun to see a pileated; they are such awesome birds!

Anonymous said...

How great to have such a visitor! In my four years of serious birding, I have only seen two (separately) in the woods. Thanks for sharing!

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Jim - Do you have pileated woodpeckers in England?

Hello, Jan - I readily confess to not knowing much about our birds, but from what you've said, we will now feel more grateful to have our pair of pileateds living so close and making themselves visible to us! (We saw one again yesterday when we were on our hike in the woods.)

RuthieJ said...

I LOVE Pileated Woodpeckers and was THRILLED to see these pictures!
There's a pair in our neighborhood, but I've only seen one in my yard about 10 years ago on Christmas day. I never give up hope that they will find their way back to my suet feeders soon.
Where we deer hunt, there's one that roosts in a tree cavity across from our ladder stand. If I'm lucky I will see that woodpecker leave his/her hole in the morning and come back at night right around sunset.

Mama Pea said...

Ruthie - They are usually so shy and skittish that I was really grateful that this one let me get my pictures. Now I'm getting greedy hoping to see both of them together again!

P.S. Love your new profile picture.