Pileated Woodpecker

Larry Trupp

Winnipeg, Canada

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2335 Views/15 Faves/20 July 2015

Featured Photography on Redbubble Explore 20 January 2012

Featured in:

The World As We See It, or As You See It…20 January 2012

Woodpeckers around the World…August 23 2010

Location: Taken in the west end of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Camera Details: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi, 75-300mm Zoom Lens, Aperture exp 5.6, Shutter speed 1/250, ISO 400…Focal length 280mm

Adults (40-49 cm long, 250-350 g weight) are mainly black with a red crest and a white line down the sides of the throat. Adult males have a red line from the bill to the throat and red on the front of the crown. In adult females, these are black. They show white on the wings in flight. The only North American birds of similar plumage and size are the Ivory-billed Woodpecker of the Southeastern United States and Cuba, and the related Imperial Woodpecker of Mexico. However, unlike the Pileated, both of those species are extremely rare, if not extinct

Their breeding habitat is forested areas with large trees across Canada, the eastern United States and parts of the Pacific coast. They usually excavate large nests in the cavities of dead trees, and often excavate a new home each year, creating habitat for other large cavity nesters.

This bird is usually a permanent resident. The Pileated Woodpecker also nests in nest boxes about 15 feet off the ground.

These birds mainly eat insects (especially beetle larvae and carpenter ants) as well as fruits, berries and nuts. They often chip out large and roughly rectangular holes in trees while searching out insects.

The call is a wild laugh, similar to the Northern Flicker. Its drumming can be very loud, often sounding like someone striking a tree with a hammer. This bird favors mature forests, but has adapted to use second-growth stands and heavily wooded parks as well.

Pileated Woodpeckers raise their young every year in a hole in the tree. In April the hole made by the male attracts a female for mating and raising their young. Once the brood is raised the Pileated Woodpeckers abandon the hole and will not use it the next year.

These holes, made similarly by all woodpeckers, when abandoned provide good homes in future years for many forest song birds. Ecologically, the entire woodpecker family is important to the well being of many other bird species.

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