Helpful Posts Helpful Posts:  0
Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Pileated Woodpecker

  1. #1
    Dizzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Concrete, WA. USA
    Posts
    686
    Real Name
    Mike

    Pileated Woodpecker

    A couple of weeks back while in the back country shooting the sunrise, I kept hearing the screeching of a Pileated Woodpecker, but as is so often the case I couldn't find it anywhere. Being 100% deaf in one ear and therefore unable to localize sound sources doesn't help much, but it wasn't long before I saw him flying up from the valley below me. Now I got ya!! (perseverance pays off once again....)

    Felt very lucky to catch him, and he became my first BIF. Saw him airborne, dropped the 70-300mm back to 70mm in order to locate him quickly in the viewfinder, and only snapped this one image in flight:

    Pileated Woodpecker

    He landed in the upper portion of the remaining stump of a tree about 200 yds. up the ridge, so I did my best to stalk in closer for some shots while he was static. The rest of these photo's were taken at 30m-50m from the base of the tree, as I didn't want to spook him out of there..

    Pileated Woodpecker

    Pileated Woodpeckers are not uncommon in the area, but in my experience they don't care much for humans, and therefore tend to be a bit reclusive. The males exhibit a red "malar" (like a whisker) on their cheek and a vivid red crest, while the females have a more muted red crest, and a dark colored malar.

    They have a very efficiently designed, triangular shaped head, and long powerful beak for ripping into trees. This was a big fellow, and they commonly grow to near 20" (49cm) with as much as a 29" (75cm) wingspan, and he was all of that.

    When they are working on digging dinner out of a tree, the sound is almost like a jackhammer, and the pounding sound can carry a long ways in the quiet forests.

    Have a look at his head; does the word Prehistoric come to mind??

    Pileated Woodpecker

    You can hear their sounds here: http://www.nenature.com/bird-songs/p...ecker-dvg1.wav

    Pileated Woodpecker

    In this last image I was able to successfully crop out the branch that was covering part of his his beak/head. I left the rest of it in the bottom left, so it now looks like it stops at that large, broken off branch.

    Hope you enjoy them. C&C always appreciated, especially if it includes suggestions on how to do better next time..Pileated Woodpecker
    Last edited by Dizzy; 9th September 2011 at 07:03 AM.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Ontario (mostly)
    Posts
    6,621
    Real Name
    Bobo

    Re: Pileated Woodpecker

    Excellent shots given the conditions.
    You could have gone longer at the tree base - he would have flown if he had not liked what he saw on your approach.

    For BIFs read this - pretty good.
    http://www.johnstuartclarke.co.uk/ph...rds-in-flight/

  3. #3
    Dizzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Concrete, WA. USA
    Posts
    686
    Real Name
    Mike

    Re: Pileated Woodpecker

    Thanks for the great article Bobo!

    I realize these pics might be a bit overcropped, but it was a real treat to even get to see one
    of these fellows. Actually, they don't seem to hang around too long on any one tree, so after he
    had done a 360 turn he flew off to another tree, and although he was plenty noisy I was unable
    to locate him again. I tried for quite a while..just doing circles and looking for the loudest sound
    of him beating on a tree. No luck though; what I need is a spotter that can hear....

    Glad you enjoyed the pics! <rant removed>
    Last edited by Dizzy; 9th September 2011 at 05:33 PM.

  4. #4
    Loose Canon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,455
    Real Name
    Terry

    Re: Pileated Woodpecker

    Must have been quite a thrill to see these guys, Mike!

    When I get ready to retire, I'm going to release my 401K shots of an Ivory Billed.

    Ironically, the sighting was in Arkansas USA which is not so far from me.

    But for now, just remember they really aren't extinct!

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Gloucester UK
    Posts
    455
    Real Name
    John Wright

    Re: Pileated Woodpecker

    You did well,Mike to get it in flight especially as it's not a large bird and flies quickly. It takes a lot of panning practice too and I envy those with the likes of the Canon 1D range cameras when I hear their 10fps. rattling off. Must be so frustrating for you struggling with the hearing impairment and trying to locate bird calls but you got it on the tree. Maybe if that tree is popular with them for food you could maybe stake it out and camouflage yourself. I listened to the link too, a real jungle type call.

    Terry- I took a look at the Ivory Billed,that's a fantastic bird to see-not sure if I've read your post correctly- you have lots of shots of one but you're waiting near retirement to post them ? I've probably got that wrong.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Gloucester UK
    Posts
    455
    Real Name
    John Wright

    Re: Pileated Woodpecker

    You did well,Mike to get it in flight especially as it's not a large bird and flies quickly. It takes a lot of panning practice too and I envy those with the likes of the Canon 1D range cameras when I hear their 10fps. rattling off. Must be so frustrating for you struggling with the hearing impairment and trying to locate bird calls but you got it on the tree. Maybe if that tree is popular with them for food you could maybe stake it out and camouflage yourself. I listened to the link too, a real jungle type call.

  7. #7
    Loose Canon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,455
    Real Name
    Terry

    Re: Pileated Woodpecker

    Hi John!

    You have that right.

    This particular species is (was) considered extinct. They are very close to the Pileated.

    It is up in the air as to whether they exist as of now.

    And Mike is right. These birds are prehistoric in origin but only after a long evolution.

    I spend a lot of time in Arkansas!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •