Reader daveau, on a trip to Door County with his family (including les chats) managed to come across America’s largest woodpecker, the Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), whose amazing behaviors I describe in WEIT. He sends us a description, a lovely photo, a video of the beast pecking away, and, of course, the obligatory shot of his shorthair Merlyn:
Who could resist naming him Woodrow? Here’s a gorgeous Pileated Woodpecker that we saw this week in Door County, Wisconsin. The male has a crest that goes all the way down to his bill, and has a splash of red on his cheeks. We were pulling into a new supper club on the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula, when I saw him fly to a tree for his own dinner. A 30-inch wingspan will get your attention. We parked the car, and went back to take a look. We spent 10-15 minutes up close, but only had an iPhone to take pictures with. Wildlife photography rule number 1: always bring a camera.
I was convinced that this was either his territory, or maybe just a fantastic feeding ground. Either way, we expected that he would hang around. Anyway, we came back the next evening armed with a camera, but didn’t spot him. However, on Tuesday, we were in the area again and decided to check out the grove. The results are what you see. We spent at least a half hour watching him from around 12 feet away. The video is really two videos, one taken by the spousal unit, Debra, and the other by me, each followed by a slow motion version. In the original, which is probably higher resolution, in slow motion, I can see his tongue shooting out like an anteater’s, immediately following each peck, and slurping up whatever grubs/insects he was after. Fascinating.
I also include a picture of Door County’s most fearsome denizen: Merlyn.