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February 26, 2011 - 9:49pm

Pileated woodpecker pays return visit

posted by JIM NIGRO in outdoors, nature, Pileated Woodpecker.

This pileated woodpecker gave me ample opportunity to try out our new camera. For half an hour or more it made two large cavities in a young cottonwood, one of seven within a stone's throw of the house. Whenever they visit they tend to ignore the huge cottonwood as well as the walnut, hickory, white ash and maple trees, instead focusing their attention on the young cottonwoods -- smoother bark, easier to penetrate, is my guess.

As you can tell from the photo sequence, the pileated's rountine was to pound away for a bit before tilting its head back as if to inspect its work, sometimes probing around inside the fresh excavation or even repositioning itself before renewing its efforts.

When it was time to leave it flew across our property, over the tops of our neighbor's woods, performing its trademark "swoop and dip" on the fly.

Julie A Pappalardo
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Joined: Mar 3 2009 - 12:23pm
Beautiful!!! This is one of my fav birds!!
Patti Coan
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Joined: Aug 23 2010 - 11:54am
GREAT PHOTOS! What a TREAT! I was the caretaker of the Bergen Swamp for 17 years, and although I saw the pileated woodpecker several times, was never able to get a good photo. I moved to South Byron about 3 years ago, and lo and behold, a pair came to our backyard to peck on the trees near the creek last winter. Got a "fair" photo!
Anne Barone
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It's nice to know that they are around. My husband, Sam, and I watched one for over an hour last summer in Centennial Park right across the street from us. It was quite a thrill. He chose several trees to hammer and peck at, and he worked his way into the center of the park where we lost track of him. But our necks couldn't take any more either, craning upwards towards the tree tops for that long! We just hope he'll make a return appearance for us.
JIM NIGRO
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Julie, Patti & Anne, thanks for your comments. Because of their intolerance of humans we rarely see the pileated compared to other bird species, but when they do show up its a real treat.
Angelo Dispenza
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Jim i never thought they were so big. I honestly don't know if i would've realized it was a woodpecker, had i been in your shoes. Why the woodpecker enjoys smaller cottonwoods rather than larger ones is beyond me. I would think they would enjoy larger and older cottonwoods because they are more susceptible to decay and insects which i believe is part of the woodpeckers diet.

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