One More for Kukutali

Pileated Woodpecker

From the Kukutali Preserve, I was able to add another creature to my Kukutali Bestiary today.   As usual, I heard this Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) before I spotted him.  I have heard them often over there, but have never been able to get a good look at one.  When I have managed to locate them, they usually skitter around to the other side of the tree to hide.  This one seemed comfortable going on with his work while I took his picture.

This is a male, identified by his red mustache or malar stripe.  Females have a black mustache.  Also, the red crest of the male extends down over the forehead.  In females, the forehead is black.

When they're working on a hole like this, they don't go ratta-tatta-tatta like Woody Woodpecker.  It's a more methodical and resonant tap...tap...tap...tap.  It's very common to hear that sound echoing in these woods.  The other sound they make is their distinctive call.   It resonates through the trees evoking something almost Jurassic.  This is just some of the music of the woods in the Pacific Northwest.

The scientific name literally means crested or capped tree chopper.  They dig holes to use for nest cavities and to find beetle larvae to eat.  They also like to eat carpenter ants, fruit and nuts.  It's common to find several of their holes in dead snags.  Other birds such as chickadees will use their holes for nesting too.  This is an example of how the lives of different species can be interconnected.