Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pileated Woodpecker

I saw an article and film earlier today.  The film was of the Imperial Woodpecker. The article also mentioned the Cornell Uni. search to find the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in the impenetrable swamps of Arkansas. These were extremely large birds and they were dependent on the old growth forest. Loss of  habitat caused both bird's extinction. 

Pileated Woodpecker hunts for insects
Well, during a duck hunt in an impenetrable swamp in Indiana, the silence of the flooded timber was shattered by the laughing call of a pair of very large woodpeckers.  Wish I could say  I saw an Imperial or Ivory-billed but I can't , they're extinct. The bird I did see is now the largest of the woodpeckers in North America.  One of the bigger birds to be seen, it was a Pileated Woodpecker.

Big bird makes a big hole
About the size of a Mallard. Body and wing feathers are black and white,  its head is topped with a crest of red feathers. They are an impressive bird. A three inch bill is used to chip away wood in their hunt for insects.  The holes made in the trees are large, in a matter of a minute or two, this bird's hole was a six inch square and four inches deep. 

Many species of ducks nest in woodpecker holes
Many animals benefit from the work of the woodpeckers, other birds find grubs in trees that have been chipped open by the Pileated Woodpecker and many other animals expand the woodpeckers holes and use them for nesting hollows.

Black wing fringe, Pileated Woodpecker(Dryocopus pileatus)
Yea, this picture is grossly over-exposed but I like it. It's a good example of the identifying feather pattern of the Pileated Woodpecker. The black fringe on the flight feathers is characteristic of the Pileated.  The Imperial and Ivory-billed  wings are white fringed.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October Buckeye

On a spring-like October afternoon, a Buckeye butterfly takes a last sip of Zinnia nectar, before hibernating for the winter. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011