17 May 2011

Pileated Woodpecker: an update

When I first photographed this beautiful giant woodpecker, I thought she was just passing through like so many of the other birds do during migration.   I didn't really know a lot about the species then, but I am happy to report that this Pileated woodpecker has apparently decided to stay for the time being.

Pileated Woodpecker female
On a downed tree trunk

This means that there is obviously enough food in the ravine to sustain her and apparently a need for her presence.  She will be consuming the insects and parasitic beetle larvae that are harmful to trees, and helping to keep the trees healthy.  Which in turn will benefit those of us who value spending time in the surroundings of the ravine.  Her presence will also benefit and attract other bird species, as the holes she drills into tree trunks provide shelter for many of those birds.

Pileated Woodpecker
Having a look around

Pileated Woodpeckers do not migrate and can live up to ten years.  They create a new nesting site every year; a cavity carved into a tree in which they lay three to five eggs in April.  Both parents take on the responsibility of incubating the eggs.  I have yet to see a male of her species, but I am really hoping that there will be a mate for her, with the end result being many more of these beautiful birds in the area.


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