Pileated Woodpecker


Some friends have a 200 acre ranch just outside of town. We were out there with them one day when we spotted one of these. The picture doesn’t convey the scale, this is a BIG bird—the largest member of the woodpecker family. Really beautiful.


We have seen them. They are big. And destructive. My mother-in-law has a log cabin. It’s not pretty what these birds can do.


True that. We never see them in town. Good thing.


Twenty-some years ago my late husband said he saw one in our yard - in town. But we live in “timber country.” We have many large evergreens - both living and dead - within city limits. So we do have different wildlife than most cities. I’ve never been lucky enough to see a pileated. Beautiful bird.


They are lovely. Used to see them around my home town, …rare, but regular. The way the chips flew would make a beaver grind his teeth!


Maybe they came out to deal with the arrival of the cicadas. The 17 year brood X stragglers are showing up now. (4 years early).


We have four different species of woodpecker in our backyard. The Red Bellied Woodpecker, the Downy Woodpecker, the Yellow Shafted Northern Flicker and the Yellow Bellied Sapsucker. It is a real party.

Our visitors this evening, a noisy pair of Barred Owls pitching woo in our side yard, finally outdid the woodies.
Happy birding, y’all.



I’d never seen one of these until we moved to NJ. It’s really shocking how large they are - they also have a really loud cry, a real Woody Woodpecker. I see them maybe once a month. We live next to the Appalachian Trail and have a 15K State forest across the street. I wish I could identify the birds better. We had a neighbor who could identify them all by sound. He’d call me up whenever a bald eagle or osprey was flying over the lake. Lost him to cancer this spring - the day he died a huge group of Buffleheads gathered near his house, 2 doors down. Coincidence?


A birding friend of mine Jeff Wilson whom we called “Ole Coot” (he was quite old) died recently. He and I were standing next to a copse where he knew they nested, so he put his hands together and called the Yellow Billed Cuckoo. Just then, a Yellow Billed Cuckoo popped out of the bushes to look at who had called it. Amazing.

The best I have done was to crow “Who-who-who-cooks-for-you-all” when we saw a Barred Owl in a tree. It swooped down and landed on a fence, to determine where the other Barred Owl was.



Well owl be. Remarkable.


that’s amazing! could he do a Red Winged Blackbird?


Red Winged Black Birds go “Conk-a-ree”. In fact that is what the Cherokee indians called them, Conk-a-ree ! No I never heard him do an RWBB.


Two years ago, my wife and I moved into Beavercreek, OH, a suburb of Dayton. The previous owner fed the birds including one feeder holding peanuts. This feeder attracted the pileated almost everyday… We have not kept up with the peanuts, just suet cakes with peanuts in them and we still see them a couple of times a month. We were amazed at the size of this bird. Much bigger than all the others at our feeders.


My wife and I live in an apartment building on the second floor, with a couple of trees outside our living room and balcony. We put up a bird feeder and so far only chickadees and sparrows but we would love to see some hummingbirds, woodpeckers eventually. It is a lovely experience to sit eating breakfast at our dining table and look out at birds coming and going and grabbing a bite to eat.


I once tracked some drumming in a spruce forest in Central Ontario. It took a while but I found two Pileated Woodpeckers on a spruce. They are magnificent birds. That’s the only time I’ve seen any.