Mrs. Pileated Woodpecker Hunts for Insects on the Old Sycamore Stump

Pileated Woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus) are impressive birds and we are lucky to have them as occasional visitors to our front yard garden. This female pileated woodpecker was braver (or maybe just more hungry) than her mate. She didn't mind me filming her even though she was only about 15 feet away from my porch chair. Mr. Pileated Woodpecker flew off to watch from a tall tree as soon as he saw me come out onto the porch.

When I was a child, I was only familiar with with the Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) and did not understand why cartoon Woody the Woodpecker on TV had a big pointy red head. When I later moved to the oak hickory forests of Appalachia I was surprised to find that these huge birds were quite common in our woods.

We can often hear our pileated woodpeckers as they drum on the old hollow hickory trees. The hollow trees amplify the sound and the males seem to know which trees to use to get the loudest sound. I'm sure their lady friends are impressed by their percussive concerts.