The chickadees, nuthatches and gold finches at the feeders are pretty nonchalant about movement inside the house. Not so the woodpeckers, especially the Pileated. I haven't any idea why woodpeckers are so much more twitchy than smaller (song) birds. If any of you can point to even a clue, please send a comment and I'll see what I can track down and share it here. Even if it weren't for the occasional appearance at the suet feeders, we could tell we have Pileated woodpeckers as neighbors by the rectangular holes in dead trees on our property.
Pileated woodpecker holes
Photo by J. Harrington
Pileated woodpecker at suet feeder
Photo by J. Harrington
Seeing this guy is a Winter treat. We don't put out suet feeders in the Summer, and I've yet to see a Pileated feeding on sunflower seeds, unlike the downy and hairy woodpeckers that show up from time to time in the warmer months. I know that, underneath the snow cover, there's lots of Winter activity that isn't readily visible. Signs of that are all around beneath the feeders, where moles and shrews and voles or whatevers are popping up through the snow to eat leftovers and droppings. That said, if it weren't for the birds at the feeders, gray Winter days would feel and look even more bleak and lifeless than they do. That kind of thinking probably means it's time to start planning for Valentine's Day. Maybe I'll get lucky and see some cupids at the feeders this year!
You’ve planted and weeded and wheelbarrowed,now tapping a pencil, trying to rememberthe next thing—what was it?—when a shapedrops from the sky, shudders and stopsat a tree—red blotch—whack, whack.A creature big enough on this slow spring dayto make you mutter, Ho-meric, exactly like the popeyed codgerin the John Wayne flick when he seeshow the bride and groom have brokentheir bed. A big, wild woodpecker. Imaginehow it would feel to glimpse, like this,an ivory-billed, that one they say(if that’s what they saw) is the last,epic of the land, boomerang to beand not. But could it bethis one will make it for real?Make it beyond lit screens,this pileated inkling now hopping into brisk beatsof loopy flight. And now almostin your grasp, the day’s next thing,when a rattled, rising shriek riddles the air.Again. And again you’re just beginning:a nest of electric light, a boywaiting for the bus and laughingat the cartoon bird laughing like crazy.
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.