Monday, January 26, 2009

Guess who?

For some odd reason, I've always liked the woodpecker. They seem particularly happy. And of all of the woodpeckers, my favorite is the pileated -- the one Woody Woodpecker was fashioned from. Ever since we moved to the woods, we've had a pair. They are very shy. They seem to have a strong mate bond (or she distrusts his cheating bastard ways). You never see one without either seeing the other or hearing the other one cackle nearby. If you've never seen one... they're pretty darn big. They are about the size of a large crow. (There is nothing in the photo to show scale... and even after watching them, when they took off I was resurprised at their wingspan.)

Before today, the closest I've ever gotten was about 50 feet -- and that was deep in the woods. But today they seem to be digging a hole in a small oak tree right outside my window. The top photo is the boy. His flaming Joker red hair is a little bit more over the top. And if you look really closely (you'll have to click on the photo) you can see a tiny little red "mustache." I had been taking his picture for about 20 minutes when the girlie showed up and joined him.

8 comments:

Kari said...

I still have a headache from watching them pound on that tree. My neck hurts a little bit, too.

bigjohn756 said...

I have seen only ladderback woodpeckers in my yard. I thought that was all we had around this neck of the woods. Well, I learned something today...now, I can go back to bed.

Kari said...

Must... control... inner... Ellie May...

Gaaaaaah! Can't do it! Losing control!

singsong voice Actually, ladderbacks are one of the few woodpeckers we don't have in this area. In addition to the pileated, we have the downy, the hairy, the red-headed, the red-bellied, the yellow-bellied sapsucker, the northern flicker and the red-cockaded (which I've never seen).

I would guess you're seeing red-bellied woodpeckers, since they have figured out there is good eating near human habitation.

Here is a Texas Parks and Wildlife fact sheet on woodpeckers.

sigh I know, it's more than anyone cared to know. Like Spork remember lyrics from 1970s music, my entire brain is stuffed with animal, bug and plant trivia. Yet I can't remember the name of someone 5 minutes after I meet them.

Ragtime Joe said...

Ellie, you crack me up!(pause to
carefully consult data base on woodpeckers)We've raised families of red-bellies almost every year we've been here, in a box I built and hung on a palm tree outside our bedroom window. We see and hear piliateds, but rarely. I got to where I could imitate their call well enuf to call them up on our place in Carolina.

Spork In the Eye said...

The tree now has about a 2.5 ft gash down the side from the excavation. (The center is hollow and rotten.) I will eventually have to take it out so it doesn't fall on the shed. But for now, I cannot stand to do it. They are too fun to watch.

Kari said...

I would like to hear your pileated call, Ragtime Joe. I think that would make a pretty good ring tone for my phone. :)

Ragtime Joe said...

Imagine Woody calling hogs in falsetto.
Aw, come see us, I'll give a demo. You can record it for your phone.

Kari said...

I would like that very much, actually. :)