The biggest, loudest woodpeckers

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I nominate this Pileated Woodpecker for Best in Crest. Look at that red blaze of glory!

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I spotted a pair of pileateds in a live oak tree this morning about a block from home. Actually, I heard them first. You can just barely see the red cheek stripe on this bird, which means it’s the male.

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Loud banging away at the bark, looking for breakfast.

  • The Pileated Woodpecker digs characteristically rectangular holes in trees to find ants. These excavations can be so broad and deep that they can cause small trees to break in half.

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The light was just right to get some nice zoom shots. The woodpeckers didn’t seem to care I was standing under their tree.

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The Pileated Woodpecker is one of the biggest, most striking forest birds on the continent. It’s nearly the size of a crow, black with bold white stripes down the neck and a flaming-red crest. Look (and listen) for Pileated Woodpeckers whacking at dead trees and fallen logs in search of their main prey, carpenter ants, leaving unique rectangular holes in the wood.

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On my way back from a walk to the end of the peninsula, I found them spiraling up a palm tree.

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Wish that pic was in focus, but it still shows the amazing wings, feathers, bold colors of this bird.

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Here you can see the two stiffened tail feathers that help prop the bird and provide extra support.

I see at least two of these woodpeckers regularly near our Florida home but somehow have never photographed and blogged them. I would see them in New Hampshire, but rarely. Check that off the list!

That is 75 birds I have seen, photographed, IDed, learned about and blogged so far in Florida. My New Hampshire “backyard” list was 64. My 2018 list (which so far includes Florida and Curacao) is up to 44.

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