Sunday, March 10, 2019

Piliated Woodpecker helps me celebrate National Wildlife Week

This week is National Wildlife Week and I am so happy to live in an area filled with wildlife. Every day I see deer, squirrels, chipmunks, and all kinds of birds in the woods and in my yard. I live on a small piece of land, but the surrounding property is still free of houses and people. That gives access to those creatures that might be afraid of too many humans.
Red-headed Woodpecker
"The gorgeous Red-headed Woodpecker is so boldly patterned it’s been called a “flying checkerboard,” with an entirely crimson head, a snow-white body, and half white, half inky black wings. These birds don’t act quite like most other woodpeckers: they’re adept at catching insects in the air, and they eat lots of acorns and beech nuts, often hiding away extra food in tree crevices for later."

I am used to seeing this beautiful bird, and I am sorry to hear that this species has declined severely due to lack of habitat and changes in its food supply. As we humans build and take away the woods, we kill off our birds.

The red-headed woodpeckers like my suet feeders. They also eat seeds and acorns they find in the area. Other food they eat is corn, beechnuts, pecans, and lots of fruit including apples, pears, cherries, blackberries, strawberries, grapes, mulberries and poison ivy fruits. 




Piliated Woodpecker


Yesterday I looked out my window and saw a Piliated Woodpecker on a fallen tree in the woods. This is a very large bird not easily missed. He also has a raucous call.

"The Pileated Woodpecker is one of the biggest, most striking forest birds on the continent. It’s nearly the size of a crow, black with bold white stripes down the neck and a flaming-red crest. Look (and listen) for Pileated Woodpeckers whacking at dead trees and fallen logs in search of their main prey, carpenter ants, leaving unique rectangular holes in the wood. The nest holes these birds make offer crucial shelter to many species including swifts, owls, ducks, bats, and pine martens."


The dead trees in the woods by my house attract the Pileated Woodpeckers and other similar birds as they forage for food or roost and even nest in them.

Unusual things about this bird: He digs rectangular holes in trees to find ants.The Pileated Woodpecker prefers large trees for nesting. Because these trees are often taller than the surrounding forest, they present a lightning hazard to the nesting.

I watch owls and hawks as well as crows in my yard and woods as they hunt and protect their habitat. I would really miss my wildlife if I ever moved to a city.


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