One Good Bird

Our best sighting Sunday had to be this one of a Pileated Woodpecker, which Leslie spotted while I was checking out the top of the trees for signs of Cedar Waxwings.  Once she pointed out to me a few feet away, I realized that I had heard the sound of it pounding away at the rotted tree but hadn’t made the connection because I was preoccupied.

This was about as close as I’ve ever gotten to a Pileated Woodpecker, and the light was also as good as I’ve ever had.  I think this is the best series of shots of one that I’ve ever managed to get.

Equally amazing, I’ve never had a chance to observe a Pileated’s behavior before.  I’ve never seen one examine its excavation like this before.  

It must have determined that there were no more insects to forage in that hole because it flew further up the tree to another hole,

which gave me a chance to capture a shot of its amazing tongue, another characteristic I had never been close enough to observe before.

This sighting reminded me of Ruth Sullivan’s motto, “One Good Bird,” which meant one unusual sighting of a bird made the whole day worthwhile.

7 thoughts on “One Good Bird”

  1. I used to see these fairly often when I was commuting to the Waterways Experiment Station in Vicksburg in the mid-90s. Large impressive birds!

      1. Thanks, Loren. I knew Leslie was close, but not being an avid birder, I would have never guessed she, and then you, could even get that close w/o frightening the subject of your superb photos.

  2. So wonderful to see these beautiful photos of the Pileated Woodpecker. We have not seen one since we moved to the Humboldt County coast. They are such impressive birds. Love these photos.

  3. Most interesting shots, telling a whole story about this creature’s behavior in a few snaps. Also enjoyed the commentary on your attention being elsewhere and your consciousness not even processing the sound of the ‘pecker, even though your ears heard it. Classic gestalt psychology foreground/background illustration!

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