Pileated Woodpecker
In Flight and on the Ground
December 2005

Although it is self-indulgent to go back to the pileated woodpecker when there are so many birds in State College that I haven't documented, a few days ago I took a sequence of the pileated in flight. The following is a composite of four shots:
Pileated woodpecker in flight

Whenever I think of a bird flying, I see flapping wings. But as shown above, it is more than that. Note in the first shot how the woodpecker's body is arched downward with the downstroke. Level flight then means level body.

On the upstroke, the pileated woodpecker's body arches upward, although not as much as with the downstroke.

So in addition to the wings flapping, the entire body is in motion to accommodate the wing flaps.

Pileated woodpecker on the ground
  On the ground, with folded wings, the pileated woodpecker is still magnificent. This one (a male, per the reddish bar extending from the beak) was pecking at a fallen trunk in search of grubs. It ate several too.

Photo note: I used a Pentax *ist D, with SMC 400-600 reflex lens for the first photo sequence and the SMC-A* 300mm (with the Pentax rear converter-A 2x) for the second shot.

My Pennsylvania bird list

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