Monday, January 11, 2016

Surprise! It's a woodpecker! A huge woodpecker!

Yesterday while I was on our enclosed back porch, working on materials for a school presentation,  I kept hearing a loud banging noise coming from somewhere outside.  To my surprise, when I looked out the window I saw a Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)!  It was busy prying at the thick bark of a Honey Locust tree (Gleditsia triacanthos) only about eight feet from our back door.  I took a few blurry photos through the window glass and then cracked open the door to take several more - this was the best photo of the bunch.

This is the first time I have ever seen a Pileated Woodpecker near our house in Alma.  This individual was a female - identifiable by the gray forehead and black stripe from the corner of the beak (moustache).  On male Pileated Woodpeckers the moustache and the entire crest (including the forehead) are red.

The woodpecker disappeared around the opposite side of the tree after realizing it was being watched, but it remained in our yard for quite some time.  It only flew away 15-20 minutes later when I had to go out the back door

This is actually the closest I have ever been to a Pileated Woodpecker, but I have better photos from an encounter in March 2013.  That woodpecker let me photograph it from about a dozen feet for more than 10 minutes and remained hard at work digging ants out of a tree even as I walked away.

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