Pileated Woodpecker

Oh, for heaven’s sake!

It took forever to wrestle the computer away from Tami.  She’s been hard at work on Cooper and Packrat’s second adventure, Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest.  As she loves to tell us over and over, she has to meet her deadline so it can be released in August 2014.

And of course she’s been hard at work putting together the Calendar of Events for 2014.  I got a sneak peek and we have a new theme weekend!  It’s a space/alien/sci-fi kind of thing, from what I could see.  Cool!

So how did I finally get the computer away from her?

I told her I’d seen the eagle at the lake.

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Of course she dropped everything to put on her snow gear and to pack up her camera equipment.  Crunch, crunch, crunch, went her boots in the snow as she trudged away from the house.

She called me from the frozen lakeside though.  “Where did you say he was?” she asked.

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“Ummmmm – way across the lake. Down by the beaver hut-” I told her.

She sighed.  “You’re on my computer, aren’t you?”

“Maaaaaybe . . . ”

“Well, keep it fired up.  I have some great photos for you to share with your readers.”

“Eagle?” I asked.  If it was, I’d be surprised. It isn’t time for them to nest yet, we don’t usually see much of them until February vacation.

“Nope, but something new!” Tami exclaimed.  Then she hung up.  Made me wait an hour to see what she’d found!

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It was this Pileated Woodpecker, feasting on carpenter ants in a small birch tree at the edge of the lake.  It was probably harvesting all the food it could before the two ice storms we had.

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The Woodpecker’s beak hitting the tree sounded more like a “crack”, so at first, Tami  thought it was ice shifting on the lake.

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Chips of wood about an inch long flew everywhere!  This is female. The male Pileated Woodpeckers have a bright red stripe on their cheek.  A pair of them will stay together year round, defending their territory.

Pileated Woodpeckers can be a nuisance, the way they cut through trees with their sharp beaks in search of insects.  This leaves the trees open to disease and rot.  But the holes these big birds create become great nesting spots for other animals, such as owls, bats and Purple Martens.  And imagine the ants and termites we’d have if the woodpeckers didn’t think they were so yummy!

We have more great news to share .  . . but all in good time!