The big Pileated Woodpecker is hard to find unless you live in the woods. We live in the woods and sightings of birds like this make all the other problems worthwhile. I saw this magnificent Pileated Woodpecker and yelled “Hey, it’s one of those great big hammer-headed woodpeckers. You know, “Woody Woodpecker” without the purple?”
Owen looked and gave another “Oh wow, it’s the Pileated Woodpecker!” At least one of us remembered his real name. The Pileated Woodpecker is now the largest woodpecker on this continent (as far as I know). There was a slightly bigger one, but he went extinct at some time in the recent past. I don’t think anyone knows exactly when the other one finally disappeared, but he did. We all hope a few may still be living in a secluded location and will someday reappear.
We have a few ailing trees on the property and when it’s not bitterly cold, the bugs are alive and busy. This woodpecker eats insects exclusively so we don’t see him at the feeder. I’ve seen him before, flying over the deck and with Owen, saw him working over this same tree a couple of months ago. But this time, we had company, so two more people got introduced to the one of the genuinely rare birds.
This time, as he settled into the tree, I realized I had a camera with a long lens (750mm). We are a quite a distance from that tree and I’m shooting through tiny, not clean (very much not clean) windows. Moreover, I’m not at a good angle to take pictures. But, I can see the bird and I’ve got the lens. I have learned my lesson. This is a rare moment that may never come again. Shoot pictures! Now!
I took almost 300 pictures. After dumping everything that was completely out of focus or completely missed the bird, It’s down to about 200 and a few. This is the first batch. I will post more of these. It was actually exciting finally getting these pictures and surprisingly, most of the pictures came out pretty well.