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March 19, 2012 - 8:58am

Pileated woodpecker thinks it's a lineman

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

This pileated woodpecker is hard at work high atop one of the utility poles of   National Grid's power line.  

I was raking our back yard when I heard its telltale and raucous cuk-cuk-cuk-cuk. That was followed by the sound of it hammering away at what I thought was a tree in my neighbor's woodlot.   

Still thinking it was in the woods, every few minutes I'd stop raking and look into the trees. The pileated had been at it for quite awhile before I spotted him, so I had no reason to think it wouldn't stay a bit longer. With that, I went inside to get the camera.

Quite often we see red-tail hawks perched atop the utility poles but this is the first time I've seen a pileated woodpecker have a go at them. And he didn't seem to be in any hurry to leave -- he was still there when I finished raking.      

Elizabeth Downie
Elizabeth Downie's picture
Last seen: 4 years 10 months ago
Joined: Nov 10 2009 - 5:57pm

While geocaching at Stiglmeier Park in Cheektowaga yesterday, I encountered a small blue and white marked bird sitting nonchalantly on a trail marker post just hanging out watching people. It just sat there, perched on the post, with us gawking at it from only approx. three feet away. We were stunned that it didn't mind us being so close for so long. Just as I was about to snap its picture, it flew up into a tree and started pecking at the tree feverishly.

The way it held on to the tree and pecked, made me figure that it was a woodpecker. With Google as my friend, I did some research on the web, and found that its markings resembled that of a Gila woodpecker, but I didn't see any red on the top of its head.

Though, I can't identify it, it was an amazing experience to be that close to such a beautiful bird!!

JIM NIGRO's picture
Last seen: 3 years 8 months ago
Joined: Oct 14 2008 - 4:37pm

Elizabeth - I can relate. Through the years curiosity about different types of plants and animals led to a mini-library of reference books in our home. Trying to Identify certain species often takes more than a bit of homework and poring through printed material and pictures doesn't mean I'll find what I was looking for - especially in regards to our feathered friends where so many species appear to be of the same size and coloration. In these instances there are indicators - however obscure they may be - that readily stand out to the seasoned birder. While I am by no means an expert, I do enjoy the beauty of the natural world as well as sharing it with others.

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