Sunday, April 4, 2010

Pileated Woodpeckers

I have been seeing Pileated Woodpeckers, here in the Lower Chippewa River Valley, at least once a week.  I see them flying across State Road 25 near Round Hill just about every time I drive to Durand.  Last week I spotted one flying by in Tarrant Park.   But I never see them when my camera is ready.

When I see their "fresh" holes in trees all along the Chippewa River State Trail, I picture myself sitting in a little blind with my camera.

But it's been over a decade since I got close enough to get a good photo of the largest woodpecker in our woods.

Then as I was sitting at my computer this morning, a female pileated showed up at my suet feeder - 5 yards from my kitchen table.  My camera was right there - with the right lens.  Amazing how easy it can be.  Being in the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment.  Serendipity.

I slowly got up from my chair, and pulled the camera to my eye.  So intent on the peanut butter suet, she tolerated my closeness.

She stayed only long enough to empty the feeder (which was nearly empty when she arrived).  She was there for just a minute - long enough to get a photo.


  1. Are these woodpeckers more popular than the redheaded? Growing up all I seen were the redheaded ones, now I see more pileated ones.

  2. Pileated Woodpeckers are dependent on old growth woods - they eat carpenter ants and beetles associated with mature trees. So yes, they are relatively numerous in the Lower Chippewa River. I saw one today on RR107 on the way to Meridean. I seldom see them at my feeder.

    Red-headed Woodpeckers on the other hand, were once common - but now is in serious decline. Scientists believe it's due to competition for nesting sites with European Starlings and the loss of habitat - oak savannas.

    I have seen them on Dunn CR 'O' behind Rock Falls - on utility poles, and I had one at my feeder - once in the past 10 years.