Pileated Woodpeaker

beautiful pileated woodpecker

We have a family of Pileated Woodpeckers living near our home. I have seen two adults and three young woodpeckers all summer. I have been trying for nearly two years to get pictures. Usually by the time I spot them and get my camera they are gone or the pictures I get are bad. Well, I finally got one picture.  They are extremely fast, when they land on trees to peck for bugs they hop around the tree trunk making it hard to get pictures.

The Pileated Woodpecker is huge woodpecker, if you have ever seen one you know what I mean. They are the largest woodpecker in the United States coming in at 16 to 19 inches tall with a 29 inch wingspan. Here in northern South Carolina they are abundant. Pileated Woodpeckers are very territorial.

They have a very loud call and it carries far, you can most often hear them calling before you see them. As they peck the trunks of trees retrieving food their drumming on the tree is also very loud and sounds like someone hitting a tree with a hammer. Pileated Woodpeckers will eat mostly insects, they love ants and wood-boring beetle larvae. They will also eat some fruits, nuts and berries. Months ago a popular tree fell and I cut a log about 20 inches long then drilled a bunch of 2 inch holes that I stuff with suet mix just for the woodpecker. I try to keep the squirrels from eating the suet by hanging the log from a tree limb. I have a bunch of other woodpeckers that also eat love the suet.

Out of 14 pictures this was the only one that was good. I will keep trying in hopes to get more shots.

check out my last blog post, Is Today the Day?


14 thoughts on “Pileated Woodpeaker

  1. This is a great portrait Michael, especially nice because you managed to get the bird without the usual interfering sticks across its head or body.

  2. You are lucky to have gotten a picture. I don’t think I have ever seen this woodpecker – though I rarely ever see them. Usually just hear them.

    • I hear them more than I see them too, they are so quick when I see them flying. When I think I know where they landed and rush to get there, they are gone already! Their call is kinda strange and yet cool! 🙂

      • Funny how we spend time chasing after birds / animals to get a picture! I want a picture of a beaver but given the time they come out into the open it would be hard for me. It is either too early or too late to get to the park. But it certainly is rewarding when you can finally get that picture!! 🙂

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