Saturday, June 15, 2013

Peeking at Pileateds

It is a good year for pileated woodpeckers in our neck of the woods, and "knock on wood," they will be around for centuries to come. I love them in spite of their destructive and noisy habits.  Last weekend, I observed three on one pine in the neighbor's yard. As we drive to our garden, we have frequently seen others. Woodpeckers are wary and have a habit of hopping to the far side of the tree as you approach. The first shot is through the windshield, so it is less than sharp.

But the sun shining through the crest of this one is nice.

Woodpeckers are known to have very stiff tail feathers that they use, along with the sharp claws on their feet, to support their relatively heavy bodies, almost like a tripod. On the top picture you can see how this bird has fanned out those tail feathers.  

I believe that both of these are females, whether or not they are the same bird. (I took the pictures on different days.) Females have gray foreheads, while males have the red feathers all the way to their beak.

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