Thursday, January 14, 2010

That's one hard skull!

Yes, that's a pileated woodpecker and his handiwork!

One of my readers, Doreen Seguin, (I love that: I have "readers"!) noted my love of woodpeckers, and was kind enough to send me these fantastic photos of a pileated woodpecker wreaking havoc on a tree in a front yard in North Bay, Ontario. She gave me permission to put them on my blog for all of you to enjoy (so please don't STEAL them! The pics belong to Doreen. If you have to steal pics, take one of my giganto-egg photos or something.)

My more devoted (dare I say fanatical?) followers (hello, Happy Wombat Boy!) may remember my brief trip to North Bay in 2008, and the exciting shadfly invasion. Well, now you get to see a North Bay woodpecker!

There are pileated woodpeckers around our farm, mainly in the woodlot (for obvious reasons, if you were paying attention to the photo above!) but I find them hard to photograph. I have never before seen one do quite this amount of damage to a tree, so I am very impressed by the beak power in evidence here, not to mention the hardness of this bird's skull.

The pileated woodpecker beginning his work.

Working really hard!

Taking on another section of the tree!

Around here, they put wood cutouts of pileated woodpeckers on hydro poles. This make the real pileated think somebody's already hammering away on the pole, and thus prevents the true bird from damaging the pole.

Thank you Doreen, for sharing these wonderful pictures!


  1. These photos are fantastic! Thanks Doreen and Natalie. Love that bird. Have seen (and heard) them. They are amazing. Great shots!

  2. isn't Woody Woodpecker designed after the pileated woodpecker? Cool pictures. I don't think we have those here on The Island. We have downy woodpeckers, and maybe another type.

  3. Great post Natalie. Just got back from walking Maximus and I'm still shaking! Saw a pileated in the wood next door and got it on video!! If it turns out I'll send it to you later today, then I'll be one up on my big sister, ha ha!

  4. Mo, I believe you are correct. And while you do have them in your region, you would have to go into a mature forest to find one (i.e. you wouldn't see one in your backyard.)

    Paula sent me her fabulous video and I am going to post it very soon!

  5. Just so you are aware, the decoy woodpeckers don't really work.

  6. I think Mo is right about Woody Woodpecker. Even its call is the same insane laugh.

  7. Woody Woodpecker has a yellow bill which made me think he might be a (now extinct) Ivory-billed Woodpecker. But as it turns out, I was wrong. So very, very wrong.

    Woody is modelled after an Acorn Woodpecker (even if he looks nothing like).

  8. And I forgot to include the call.

  9. HWB, the photo of the pileated making a hole in the pole opposite the decoy is hilarious!

  10. An ACORN woodpecker??!!! Was somebody stoned??!

  11. Now that is amazing. It's made light work of that pole!


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!