Friday, March 18, 2011

Pileated Woodpecker

It is rare to see a pileated woodpecker on the property.  Bridget spotted one today and grabbed the camera. 

After reviewing the photos, we noticed a downey woodpecker on the next tree which gives a good perspective to their respective size.

The pileated woodpecker is about 15 inches in length and is one of the largest woodpeckers found in North America.  It has a black body, a red crest, white stripes on its neck and black and white stripes on its face. It has yellow bristly feathers over its nostrils that keep out wood chips. It has a long, sticky tongue; a long, sharp pointed bill and yellow eyes. Males and females are similar, but males have a red forehead, and females have a gray to yellowish brown forehead.

The pileated woodpecker eats insects, fruits and nuts. A large part of its diet is made up of carpenter ants and beetle larvae. It uses its sharp bill to pull bark off a tree to expose ant colonies. It uses its long, sticky tongue to poke into holes and drag out the ants. It also digs out large rectangular holes in trees to create roosting and nesting spots and to expose insects!

From a previous hike, here is a sample of the large rectangular holes in trees made by the pileated woodpecker.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Our resident opposum brought a friend to the feeding station yesterday.   Maybe we'll have baby opposums this Spring!!!