I saw my first pileated woodpecker, in person, on Feb. 22 while hiking through Kingdom Woods in Blue Hill. And on my next hike on March 3, I saw three pileated woodpeckers. A coincidence? I think not.
Pileated woodpeckers have a distinctive call; and once you can match the call with the bird, the bird is a lot easier to find. To listen to the various sounds a pileated woodpecker can make, visit www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/pileated_woodpecker/id.
From the many woodpeckers I’ve tracked down in the woods this winter, I’ve also learned a bit about how they drum on trees in search for food. The difference makes sense. A pileated woodpecker is Maine’s largest woodpecker (the size of a crow), and its drumming sounds a lot more powerful than the drumming of the smaller hairy woodpecker or the even smaller downy woodpecker. I’m no bird expert, but that’s what I’ve learned through listening in the woods, then checking my observations with reliable online sources.
The first pileated woodpecker I spotted in Kingdom Woods flew off before I could get some really good photos of him, but the three woodpeckers I saw more recently didn’t seem to mind as I slowly approached them with my camera. Here is the result:
Here are a few tidbit about pileated woodpeckers that I learned from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/pileated_woodpecker/id.