blog, Canon, humor, pileated, pterodactyl, tree hugger, woodpecker
… said the blogging woman as she spoke on the phone.
OK, about this woodpecker. I first saw this magnificent creature last year as I lay depressed in my room … staring out the window at the dead oak tree outside. The tree matched my mood.
(Note to readers … yes, I am indeed a non-card-carrying tree hugger … and was waiting until the very last of its lifeblood was gone before cutting it down. I think we are just about there now. Maybe not. What do you think?)
It was a day, much like today … overcast, humid, with a heavy summer rain having just drenched all unprotected surfaces. And as I dreamily looked out the window I was shocked into the present. By a bird more closely looking like miniature pterodactyl.
Here are some pictures of what it looked like … more or less. But mine was far more raggedy in the head, and larger in the body.
Drawing a shocked breath, I remembered the Woody Woodpecker cartoons of my youth and recognized it for what it was. A giant Pileated Woodpecker. Well, in reality it looks a lot more like the pictures of the rarer, larger ivory billed woodpecker, but I can’t believe it was that. But then again I found it hard to believe it was there at all.
This creature was huge … and by huge, I mean like easily over two feet tall. Scared the living daylights out of me, with its pronounced back-swept red raggedy head and white in black beady eyes. And like I said, it looked more like a dinosaur than a bird.
Looking for my camera, I heard the most amazing chatter from all the other birds in the area. I guess it had scared the daylights out of them as well. And looking up in the tree … but before I could get my camera ready … it spread its wings out like a hawk does in the air … as widely as the Bald Eagles up the road … and with seemingly no effort whatsoever, glided from the top of my oak tree to the maple tree in my neighbor’s yard across the road .
By the time I got my camera, it was gone. And I have been looking for it ever since.
Until this morning.
While doing some more prep work on the room I plan to paint today, I heard a woodpecker outside. Not unusual. The little guys (see pic of little guy) are always hitting on the various dead trees on the property … oh, and my house … they look for bugs on my house. Comforting. Not.
But I realized that today this distinctive pecking was much deeper, and much louder than the usual sounds. In hopes that it was indeed the large creature revisiting my area, I rushed to get the phone camera (My Canon is not working) and went outside to listen and take a picture. Perfect for a Happy Holly Project item.
Upon hearing the deep resonating pecking sound out back I hiked up the hill to the area where he was and looked in all the trees. No luck. Until I looked and saw him … wings spread … gliding off into the distance through the trees.
Here are pictures of the tree he WAS in … and the trees as he flew away … harumph. Not a picture of the rascal between them.
And now I can hear him way down the road, checking yet another tree for yummy bugs. Have you ever noticed how the sound of a Pileated Woodpecker sounds a whole lot like a child taunting “Nya nya, nya nya nya”? No? Just me?
OK, so I took a picture … but as you can see, he is nowhere to be seen. Timing, as they say, is everything.
Guess I’ll keep my day job.
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About 4-5 times a year I see a pair in my yard. Last week I was delighted to see TWO pair at the same time (that’s four birds for the mathematically challenged among us). I always stop to watch them until they fly away. And once, years ago, my wife found one that got stuck in our utility tub in the garage. It’s wings were too big to get open inside the tub for it to fly away, but it finally thrashed around enough to free itself. Good thing too, because she wasn’t crazy enough to get near that peckerhead (to borrow the expression from Jason above). Love these birds, but hope they nest in someone else’s trees.
happy holly project said:
FOUR?? I am so incredibly jealous … and I would volunteer to let them nest in my trees, but they seem content to just come and “peck” from time to time and frustrate the shutter bug in me. Thanks for commenting …
Jason Alan said:
Birds can be real peckerheads (pardon the pun, I couldn’t help myself). Every time I try to take a picture of them they fly off. It’s like they can sense it. *shakes fist*
Thanks for the comment, Jason! Made me laugh out loud … I agree … and yes, I am also close to a town named Bald Eagle … famous for, you guessed it, Bald Eagles. Tons of them, Wild Turkeys, and Ring Necked Pheasants … but not one picture of any … can’t even get a decent picture of a Cardinal (a favorite bird of mine)