Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pileated Woodpecker

Last week I was home waiting for the big snowstorm to hit, when I heard a, it was more like someone was using a hammer! We don't have any houses going up right now so I knew it was a woodpecker. The windows on the back of the house are in the "treetops," 30 feet up on the first floor and 40+ feet if you are looking out the second floor windows. It didn't take very long to spy him, a HUGE woodpecker tap, tap, tapping away on an oak tree that's nearly 100 foot tall.

I knew immediately it was a Pileated Woodpecker, he was HUGE, as big as a crow! I tried to get some shots of him while he was intent on drilling away at the tree searching for insects.

Wikipedea says, "The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in America. Adults are mainly black with a red crest and a white line down the sides of the throat. They show white on the wings in flight. Adult males have a red line from the bill to the throat, in adult females these are black. The call is a wild laugh, similar to the Northern Flicker. Its drumming can be very loud, often sounding like someone striking a tree with a hammer. This bird favors mature forests, but has adapted to use second-growth stands and heavily wooded parks as well."

He would work on one tree and then fly to another, his wingspan was nearly 2 feet!

Probably the best shot, you can see the stripes on his face and the white feathers blazing down his chest.

I am not an experienced photographer, but with practice I hope to get better. I zoom in too close and then take the shot just before the camera has a chance to recover. I was also pee my pants excited to see this bird! We are so lucky to live here in the woods. Right now the Bald Eagles are hatching their young only a few coves over from us. Hobbs State Park does pontoon cruises in February for those who have "Polar Bear Blood!" That wouldn't be me. Highs in the 20's, but you can subtract 20 degrees for wind chill...I just can't do it! The Arkansas Democrat Gazette does great articles on the Bald Eagles every year. We have Albino (Leucestic) eagles that are seen every year and some of the eagles have decided to be year round residents, lucky us!

*Just noticed some of you have commented thinking he was pecking our, just the big trees that surround us. We have brick and cement siding so we are safe. Thanks for worrying about us!


  1. what a beautiful bird. do they do damage to homes and such or are they just looking for insects?

  2. We have those here too, Joycee. Beautiful birds. We have Cardinal and Blue Jays too and gorgeous hummingbirds in the spring and summer. I think Woodpeckers normally stick to trees or even dead. But if a Woodpecker was pecking on my house, I think I would have a bug man out to investigate why. The Woodpeckers are after the insects and hear them under the bark, that's how they know where to peck. So if a Woodpecker thought my house 'sounded' like a good place to peck, I would be worried!

    I think your photos are great. We have a mated pair of Red Hawks that like to sit on our corral panels in the afternoon sun. I have tried half a dozen times to get a photo of them but they always hear me come out of the house and fly off before I can get in position. Darn it.

  3. You've captured some beautiful photos even if you feel you're lacking some experience! I love looking at anything to do with nature and wildlife and your post not only provided some great shots of the Pileated Woodpecker but you've also given us some valuable information about this species! You must have been so excited when you spotted him!

  4. How wonderful that you live in an area with such beautiful birds. Nice photos of the woodpecker. I hope you're able to capture some photos of eagles too.

  5. Joycee, how lucky you are knowing that you have Bald Eagles in the area. That woodpecker is really hammering away, isn't he?...:)JP

  6. AND you got pictures! So awesome!

  7. Joycee, I see them, here, and thrill at the sight and sound of them. Thanks for sharing your shots with us! Lucky you to live in the midst of the trees!
    XO, Cheryl

  8. I can't remember what our woodpeckers look like! I don't think they're that big though. I love the sound as it echoes through the woods.

  9. Hi there! We have those woodpeckers visit our suet feeders daily and they are awesome! We have 80 ft tall trees, and several snags where they drill holes for nests. I have a shot somewhere of a mom feeding a baby - and the baby is as large as SHE is!!! I never get tired of seeing those birds!

  10. Awesome! I would love to see one!

  11. It's been a good while since I've seen a woodpecker- thanks for sharing, you got some good shots!

  12. We have one that lives nearby but I don't see it often. We kept hearing this bird while sitting out on the porch swing and had no idea it was the woodpecker.

    Check it out at:


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