Ms. Pileated Woodpecker
Our Winter Guest
Jan. 31, 2010

It is a special joy to have a pileated woodpecker as a local feeder bird, and for the past week, a female pileated woodpecker has been making a morning visit to our oversize suet feeder.
Pileated woodpecker on suet

In the above photo, I thought the pileated was trying to settle, but Sue told me that the display arose from a squirrel coming somewhat close and the pileated trying to intimidate the squirrel (and it worked, in this instance).

The morning was rather dark, and I had to set the lens at a slower speed than I prefer (1/20 second), but the motion blur helps the overall sense of action.

Four days later, I took another sequence of the pileated on the suet feeder. There wasn't too much light (a cloudy day), but at 1/60 second, the lens captured much more detail.

Pileated woodpecker on suet

Did you notice how she uses her tail to brace against the feeder?

Both images are of a female, because the facial stripe is black, rather than red. (I've a male pileated here.)

For an idea of relative size between a pileated and a red-bellied woodpecker, visit my page on sharing suet by a regular-size suet feeder.

Update 31 Jan. 2010: A few days ago I had a good photo of the pileated woodpecker on the opposite side of the suet feeder.

Pileated woodpecker on suet

Subsequently, I replaced the suet block with a fresh one, which she finds easier to handle. Now, if only she'd bring a boyfriend along.

Photo note: I used a Pentax K20D, with the SMC-DA 55-300mm lens, for these three photos.

My Pennsylvania bird list

Look Out!   |   Contact