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Friday, December 9, 2011


Hunting is not allowed on Sunday in Wood County, West Virginia so I took advantage of a few free hours and headed for the woods. I walked around, didn't see much, just some interesting tracks in the mud. I hardly even heard a bird chirp. Just as I was approaching the edge of the woods, though, something changed. 
I thought I heard a high pitched bird song so I stopped to focus my ears. My camera slid up close to my eye just in case I found whomever was making that noise. It was then that an entirely differently pitched call caught my ear. A Pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) was flying straight toward me.  It stopped short of hitting me, lighting on a nearby tree.  I really think it didn't noticed me. 
This woodpecker was seriously concentrating on finding a meal.
Next it startled me by flying right past me to another tree, accompanied by its loud, "Eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh!"
No it really hadn't seen me yet. So cool.
 It cocked its head to listen better.
Uh-oh. I believe I have been spotted.
A few more bugs were gathered then the suspicious Dryocopus flew off deeper into the woods where a meal could be eaten in peace.


Sandra said...

I have seen them several times here and gotten a few shots, but I have never heard their call. did not know they made one. the only thing we hear is knock knock knock. i think i wil googe the sound to see what is sounds like

Beyond My Garden said...

Sandra, it really does sound a lot like Woody Woodpecker, who is the most famous Pileated.

KaHolly said...

Wonderful images! They are trying to make it legal to hunt on Sundays in Nova Scotia. Cross your fingers that it doesn't pass.

Beyond My Garden said...

First of all I want to say NO HUNTING ON SUNDAY. Give us one day without the noise and the danger to us who live in the woods.
Second, Thanks to Karen who kindly pointed out that Woody is NOT a Pileated woodpecker, but is an Acorn woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus. as Woody's originator backs up. Here is an interesting link to read about it.
Thank goodness for attentive readers.

TexWisGirl said...

SO cool! i've only seen 2 of them here - both at the same time one day! :)

Karen said...

Wow, I'm glad he/she didn't fly into you!

No hunting on Sunday would be SUCH a in WI they can blast away seven days a week. How nice it would be to enjoy my back 40 without the blaze orange and fear of lead flying by.

Love the photos, you are very talented to capture these!

Ashley Sisk said...

How neat - beautiful red!

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Great pictures! They are very shy here. I've only gotten terrible pics from a distance.

NCmountainwoman said...

What a great capture of this lovely male Pileated. We have them all through our forest and they bring their fledglings to our suet feeders in summer. No matter how often I hear them, I am amazed at the tropical sound of their calls.

Rose said...

Let's just say that I am so envious!!!

Nature in the Burbs said...

Nice pictures!!