Big, loud bird… and about the size of a mallard duck, but clawing its way up the underside of a tree… impossible not to notice when it’s knocking and hammering around in the front yard for a couple of days.
Hello, Pileated Woodpecker.
They are loud birds with whinnying calls. They also drum on dead trees in a deep, slow, rolling pattern, and even the heavy chopping sound of foraging carries well.
Not the best photo ever, but you can see that a Pileated Woodpecker visited our backyard this morning!
It was flying around from tree to tree, not staying long in any one spot. In four or five minutes it was gone. I barely had time to find my camera and focus. I would not have noticed it except for its big red crest.
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.
Oh please stay, big woodpecker! We had a plague of carpenter ants last spring and summer.
This is my 45th backyard bird noted on the sidebar.