The Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) is one of the world’s most stunning woodpeckers. Big, bold and beautiful, a sighting of this bird excites most all birders. In my part of the country we have a very strong and healthy population. This is due to the vast forest areas within the region that are required to hold such a magnificent creature. Regions of the country that have received heavy deforestation find their populations to be very low or nonexistent. Pileated is pronounced either “pahy-lee-ey-tid” or “pil-ee-ey-tid”. The former is the more correct version but the latter is the most used. Both are readily accepted and I use the latter.
Pileated Woodpeckers are very easy to recognize due to their size. If you live in the eastern half of the US, the central latitude of Canada or the Pacific Northwest and see a VERY large woodpecker with a red head, it is positively a Pileated Woodpecker. Its overall length is 16 to 19 inches and has a wingspan pushing 30 inches. The body of the bird is predominantly black as well as the wings when tucked. In flight, the wings have a very distinct white underside and can be seen at great distances. The neck and head of both males and females are striped black and white and each has the very noticeable red head plume or pileus. The males plume will cover his head from the base of the bill to the backside of the head. The female’s red head begins at the very top of the head and continues rearward to the backside. The male has a dominant red stripe, often referred to as “his mustache,” which runs along the side of his head in a continuing line of the bill rearward ending at the throat. Juveniles appear similar to the adults.
The most easily recognized voice of a Pileated starts out with long spaced “kuks” that gradually reduce their spacing as the pitch increases into one long vibrato. Normally, I’ve noticed they repeat their call once or twice, rest for a few minutes and start again. In flight, their call rings loudly and can often times be more harsh in nature. If you hear a woodpecker drumming very loudly in the spring, it is probably a Pileated. This is their mating call and can be heard from great distances. They peck at a hollowed tree that resonates like a big drum. They may also rap on metal power line poles, highway signs or other items that ring loud and long. Once again, the more devoid your area is of natural forests, the more likely your Pileated will use unnatural objects.
The Pileated Woodpecker is the king of the woodpeckers in the United States and Canada. If you have not had the opportunity to view this awesome creature, it is well worth your effort and time to find them. Contact your local Department of Natural Resources and ask them for more information regarding this bird’s population locally. You might find they are only a few miles away from your home.
Peter Hurley has been an active nature lover and wildlife enthusiast his entire life and is the owner of The Hurley-Byrd Bird Feeder Co. His vast experience with all things nature has led him to produce some of the finest bird, deer and wildlife feeders in the world.
Visit http://www.HurleyByrd.com/SuetFeeders.html for more information regarding Woodpeckers and the enjoyable way of feeding these beautiful birds. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to visit Hurley-Byrd’s site and write Mr. Hurley directly. You are also welcome to view more beautiful photos of various wildlife throughout the site at http://www.HurleyByrd.com
Article Source: EzineArticles.com