Regular readers are familiar with my love affair with these lovely woodpeckers. Not only do we see them frequently on our community trails, we have a nesting pair right in our own backyard. Almost every morning they come to our suet feeders. The pair almost always come together. We may catch them at other times, but the morning visits are more dependable. If they arrive before the feeders are out, the male (whom we call Big Daddy) calls out. If you have never heard the call of the Pileated Woodpecker, check out this site http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/183/_/Pileated_Woodpecker.aspx scroll down and listen. It seems so strange to hear this tropical-sounding bird in the midst of a North Carolina forest.
Somehow it seems condescending to call these large, magnificent birds our "bread and butter" birds despite the fact that they are regular summer and winter visitors. Perhaps the Pileateds are our "cake and frosting" birds.
The female arrives first, while the male lingers deeper in the woods. It's a bit hard to see in this picture, but the coloring on her face is all black and white. There is no red.
Here you can clearly see the all-black line at the base of the bill.
She scampers around the tree looking for insects.
The male climbs on this lichen-covered limb. You can barely see his red coloring on the base of his bill.
He moves to another tree, and the red line on the base of the bill is very clear.
He cocks his head to one side. He has seen me. But he seems to know that I pose no threat to him.
Just look at his gorgeous body.
We do enjoy our Pileated Woodpeckers. So soothing to hear the resonant drumming and tropical calls. They bring their fledglings in the summer to feed at the suet. And to see them swooping from tree to tree is delightful.