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Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

Posted on May 12, 2016

Let’s switch gears from the little migrant birds to the big resident birds with this Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) as photographed last week during its breakfast. This meal, while being obviously tasty and delicious, also provides us a lesson in forest and yard management. Most of the time Pileated Woodpeckers can be found eating at dying, dead or fallen trees like this one as they hammer away for ants and various insects associated with decaying wood.

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)-1274

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)-1270

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)-1276

If we removed all of the rotting wood from the forest or our yards what would they have to eat? Not much! If you can safely leave a dead snag up in your backyard or not remove a fallen and decaying tree then you may be in for a treat later when a bird like this one comes to enjoy the treats you are providing it. Keep an eye out for the huge, rectangular holes they leave in trees and an ear open for their loud, long, laughing, raucous sort of call echoing through the woodlands.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator