Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A pileated woodpecker

At the base of the wooded ravine behind our house in the mountains, a large cherry tree fell last summer.

This afternoon, a bright flash of red alerted me to a woodpecker working near the old cherry's trunk, even though it was horizontal, not vertical.  The bird turned out to be foraging on a older downed tree, not the cherry.

Initially, I thought it would be a red-bellied woodpecker, as we've been seeing them frequently this winter. 

But, it turned out to be (through my camera lens and old-fashioned view finder) a male pileated woodpecker -- identifiable by his red 'moustache' stripe. (Click on the photo for a larger view).

Pileated woodpecker (male) foraging on downed log

Pileated woodpeckers mainly eat insects, especially wood-boring beetle larvae and carpenter ants. Click on the highlighted link to read more about pileated woodpeckers in All About Birds, from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.


  1. I don't always see them, but I hear the pair of Pileated Woodpeckers often. Great birds.

  2. How beautiful! There are several different woodpeckers that live near me, but I have yet to see a pileated one!

  3. It was great to get a relatively close-up look! Normally, they're high up in the trees when I see them.


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