Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I and the Bird #100--pileated woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

I've heard these big guys in the woods for years, but this is the first time I ever spotted one--he flew across the country road right in front of the Jeep, crossed a bare field and disappeared into the woods that line Shackleford Creek. I had no idea they were THAT large--almost as big as a crow at about 15". The male has a red forehead, the female a brownish black one, but still with that bright red crest! The pileated woodpecker really was the model for Woody Woodpecker--I felt like I'd seen a childhood friend.

I saw that distinctive flight pattern, the size, the bit of white on the wing, then the elongated head with the flash of red and KNEW I'd finally sighted one...exciting! Quick gesture sketches capture the overall shape, but I had to look the big bird up to see a closeup...

We'd run away from home for a bit of peace and quiet...didn't expect such a lovely reward, in addition to a fresh-baked cookie from the organic farm and bakery we like to frequent, Van Till Farms in rural Rayville, Missouri.

The long-lived birders blog, "I and the Bird" has its 100th post on the 14th, and I meant to get this done in time to celebrate with them, since we're members of the Nature Blog Network (see the link at left, in our sidebar!) But I didn't remember that the 12th was the deadline, so...late, like my woodpecker, but celebrating just the same!


  1. Thanks, Vickie! It was so cool to see that big bird looping across the road in front of us!

  2. I love these birds but never seen one in person. All pecker heads and jays fascinate me, especially the big Jays in the mountains. Great art Kate.

  3. Thanks, Ricky, it was a great getaway!

  4. A few people in our neighborhood had seen one, but not me. Then on my morning walk a few weeks ago there it was on a telephone pole right in front of us. Of course I had no camera or no sketchbook. What a great job you did capturing this cool bird.

  5. Great sketches and details! They're wonderful birds. It's been years since I've seen them - they really do take your breath away, they are so large and regal-looking.


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