Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pileated Woodpecker Visits the Suet Block

Back in June, I saw a Pileated Woodpecker fly into the hickory tree next to the patio.
The pileateds are probably the largest of the North American Woodpeckers.  I say "probably" because there is a slim possibility that the larger Ivory Billed Woodpecker is, in words from Monty Python's Spamalot, "not dead yet!
You can get an idea of how large she is in the photo below of her on suet feeder.  They can reach almost 20 inches in length.
I say "she"  because she lacks the red moustache and forehead seen on males.
She looks rather ungainly on this suet feeder.  I have seen suet feeders made specifically for woodpeckers with a vertical board located below the suet block that serves as a tail brace.  
The lack of a tail brace didn't deter this bird from feeding.
We hear them in the woods behind our house with their distinctive call and slow, deep hammering.  They prefer large trees in which to excavate a cavity for nesting and there are plenty of large trees in our woods.
If you double click on the photo below you can get a glimpse of her tongue sticking out.  Apparently they have long barbed tongues that they use to pull ants and termites out of tunnels.
Here in southeastern Minnesota, we are near the western edge of their range and we don't see them as often as we did in Georgia.  But no matter when or where we see them, these birds are a favorite.
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8 comments:

  1. What a great bird Wilma, but he has definitely got his colour co-ordination wrong.{:)

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  2. She's certainly enjoying the suet Wilma.
    Lovely looking bird, and great pictures.

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  3. Wonderful images of a fab looking woodpecker.

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  4. Wow she is very impressive! Must be something to observed a huge woodpecker like this. Very beautiful set of pictures Wilma!

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  5. Roy - all the effort for color is focused on that crest; almost looks on fire.

    Keith - she does like that suet. The amazing thing is that the hanger for the suet block is attached to the side of the house. I'm amazed she will come in that close for suet, but it sure makes the photos easier!

    Anthony - thanks, the pileateds are one of my favorites.

    Chris - thanks. I was very happy to be at home to see her come in like that.

    thanks for visiting and commenting.

    cheers,
    Wilma

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  6. Hi Wilma,
    She's a beauty. That red crest is really striking.

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  7. Lovely series of shots. That is one large woodpecker! Love the punk hairstyle.

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