Tuesday, May 22, 2012

More backyard excitement

Over the weekend we spent a lot of time on the back porch watching the birds. One morning after watching our regular visitor, the red-bellied woodpecker, I mentioned to Daniel how I'd love to see one of the pileated woodpeckers again. I was stunned when we saw one that same afternoon.
They are said to be the largest woodpecker in the US, about the size of a crow and they truly look prehistoric to me.
We first saw one ... and then two! They were hammering away at this tree and stuck around for a long time. I tried to take a video of them, but somehow the camera didn't cooperate, which was too bad as the wood chips were just flying from the tree!
We hear them a lot, but they are quite shy and usually stay way up in the tall pine trees around here and our house and we hardly ever get to see them.
They came really close to us, checking out our bird feeders. We figure they might be feeding their young.
I also found out that they mate for life, which I thought was so sweet, seeing those two together.
And then came the confusing part. Suddenly there were three! Really!! While they were all close to each other, I could not get them on the same photo.  We couldn't figure out why three of them would be hanging out together. Maybe it was a chick from last year? ~~ Ok, I just read about them some more and learned that the chicks have the same coloring as the adults right from the start. So, maybe they had one of the young with them. Although it did look pretty big... not sure. 
We haven't seen them since (this was only the third time we've seen them in our garden in six years), but what a treat that was!!
Even Winslow watched with us, but I think he wasn't quite as impressed as we were...

Do you any of you know why most of the woodpeckers here have similar coloring? Black, white, maybe some grey, but always bright red somewhere on their body? They aren't exactly camouflaged very well.

My blogging is going to be even more sporadic than normal - we are having a house guest with us until tomorrow and more arriving on Friday for the weekend. That means lots of fun outside and playing tourist, and less computer time! Hopefully, I'll take lots of beautiful photos to share with you!!

I hope you are all doing well and wish you a gorgeous Tuesday!!


  1. Fun outside, having house guests and playing tourists sounds like good fun - so you are excused from blog "duty" :-)
    And the woodpeckers are indeed a rare treat, if you've only seen them this once in six years. Wow!

  2. No idea on the consistency of their coloring; checked on-line and it is noted that most in the whole family are within the same color range but minor variations. I think it said there are 200 birds included......wow!
    I vote for these for having the ORIGINAL PUNK MOHAWK!!!
    Absolutely amazing photos....
    Lucky YOU; Winslow seems a bit underwhelmed. ;-)


  3. Unglaublich schöne Vögel. Winslow guckt ein bisschen ungläubig.
    LG Sabine

  4. What a spectacular bird! But you're right -- Winslow wasn't too impressed at all. ☺

  5. oh gosh i wish i had birds like this come flying in my back yard while i am nibbling on a lobster roll.

    just stunning, silke!

  6. What a spectacular sighting. Winslow looks like he's thinking: 'what's all the excitement about? They're just birds...'

  7. love that first one especially!
    no, the puppy does not seem impressed..lol

  8. Wow..thankyou Silke for sharing these magnificent upclose shots...so very very beautiful!! they are very special creatures!your photos are magnificent!

    I often see them on my forest walks..gentle giants! we even, take a stone..and if you find a hollow tree( knock on it)..if you do two quick knocks...and keep doing it...they will come close to see who is in their territory and answer you..getting closer each time..imitating your knock. it is pretty cool! then it is a knocking face-off standoff..ha ha!!
    I let them win..then leave them to their sacred space!

  9. Silke-- my most favorite of birds-- sightings are rare- they are so shy!! Your photos are great!! I love that Winslow was in on the viewing too!!
    You are lucky to have had this sighting!

  10. Beautiful photos. Very striking bird.