poetry and prose about place

excavation underway!

with 12 comments

On Tuesday morning last week, I began my morning work to the beat of an intermittent rapping.  It was so loud and so near, I thought it must be someone hammering on the house.

I looked outside and saw, across the lawn, a large bird with a flaming red crest.  A Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)!

We have seen this species of woodpecker several times before in our Grey Woods.  These birds leave their oval cavities in many of our older trees, evidence of their search for insects or the preparation of cavities for nesting.  The use of dead or dying trees as cavity nesting sites is an example of how important these trees are to the woodland ecosystem.

I watched as the bird did her circuit of the tree and hopped down to the ground for a while.  Then she fluttered up to our cedar rail fence and into the trees.

The Pileated Woodpecker’s bright red crest and long skinny neck give it a comical air – not a beautiful bird, but very exciting to see and watch.



©  Jane Tims   2012

12 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Pileateds are majestic birds- very large, and sometimes their crest is ruffled up like a mohawk. Very enjoyable sights!


    Watching Seasons

    May 17, 2012 at 10:52 pm

  2. I thought of Woody Woodpecker too. I’ve been watching some of our dead trees, those that look like they have nests in them, but nobody has come out to visit with me yet. 🙂

    Wonderful drawing of a wonderful bird.



    May 15, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    • Thanks, Robin. Keep watching! That red crest would be great in one of your photos. Jane


      jane tims

      May 16, 2012 at 7:20 am

  3. Hi Jane, I love the fact and metaphor of the dead and dying trees having their place in the world as nesting sites.


    Ellen Grace Olinger

    May 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm

  4. We have Pileated Woodpeckers in our neighbourhood. Last winter one excavated a hole large enough to cause the large limb to break under the weight of snow and ice, causing damage to a beloved ancient maple. We had a tree surgeon look at it and did what he said to do. We hope it’ll last a few more years, though it is dying slowly…just have to keep the woodpeckers away.


    Carol Steel

    May 9, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    • Hi Carol. Sometimes the goals of the wild life and our goals are just not the same!!! Hope your tree lives. Jane


      jane tims

      May 9, 2012 at 8:37 pm

  5. That’s some cavity he chiseled out! It always amazes me how loud woodpeckers get and how they somehow don’t wind up with a headache…


    Barbara Rodgers

    May 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    • Hi. It must be built into them. The cavity is one of the smallest of the ones I’ve seen! Jane


      jane tims

      May 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm

  6. One of my favorites, our own Woody Woodpecker. Thanks, Jane.


    Jane Fritz

    May 9, 2012 at 10:12 am

I'd love to hear what you think...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: