Readers’ wildlife photos (and videos)

James Blilie sent some photos by his son; the date for the first batch is January 3, and the last batch was sent January 28. James’s notes are indented:

Here are some more photos from my son, Jamie (13).  He shoots with a Canon PowerShot SX530 “super zoom” camera.
This fall, we built a natural-like suet log, hoping to attract our neighborhood(!) pileated woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus). It worked! Here’s the log:  A chunk of dead-fall poplar with 1.25 inch holes bored in it.  The local hardware stores sell “rolls” (cylinders) of suet with mealworms and seeds in them.  The woodpeckers LOVE these. The weather is COLD!

Pileated woodpeckers;, we can discern at least two different birds (red crest size):


The male pileated (the female has a red crest; but her red area is smaller.  The male has red over most of the top of his head, down onto his neck, and a red chin streak).


The female pileated:

The suet log in full, with a Hairy Woodpecker (Leuconotopicus villosus):

Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens):
And a Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus), loads of these:
Jamie’s video of the pileated at work:

And, his shot of the moon, hand-held!

Lagniappe: Videos from reader Arthur Williams:

Also, if you are running low, I post a link to two videos that I shot, one of a manatee (Trichechus inunguis) with obvious dorsal prop scars, and the other of a fledgling brood of two red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis); one is testing his wings in wind that might be a little too much for the youngling.



  1. Robert Ladley
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Really good pictures, most interesting.

  2. Posted January 30, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Beautiful shot

  3. Posted January 30, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Since we were visited by a Pileated Woodpecker not too long ago, my 3-year-old now refers to all of the other normal-size woodpeckers as “baby woodpeckers”. These things are mammoth.

  4. Posted January 30, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Love the length to which birders go to keep the locals happy!

  5. Terry Sheldon
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Love woodpeckers, especially pileateds! Thanks for the great pictures!

  6. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    WOOT pileated

    Big fan of pileateds

  7. Paul Doerder
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Nice pileated pair. We waited over two years to see one female at our suet feeder though we heard and saw them in the neighborhood. “Baby” woodpeckers are nice too!

  8. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Very good pictures, Jamie! Well done.

  9. Heather Hastie
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    More great work from Jamie! And what a cool dad you are James. 🙂

    I enjoyed the videos also!

  10. Christopher
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Can you share the name of those suet rolls? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen them, or perhaps never noticed them but I am going to have to steal your idea! Since I moved out of the ‘burbs I haven’t been able to attract the local rural woodpeckers to my feeders. They seem more discerning than their city cousins. Perhaps this will help.

    • Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      It worked really well. They came from our local place Fleet Farm (I feel somewhat guilty shopping there since the family scion, Stuart Mills, has run for US congress in MN on a pretty crazy right wing platform — and has lost.)

      They are called Insect Buffet, if I remember correctly.

      And here they are!:

      • Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        Stewart Mills, not Stuart.

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        I would like to try it, but we keep getting one of the smaller species who wants to drill holes in our house, so I don’t want to encourage the little darlings. Red-bellied

        • Posted January 31, 2018 at 7:00 am | Permalink

          Yeah, the Downy Woodpeckers like to tap on our house. Mainly on the few bits of plywood on the eaves. (The house is sided with cedar.) We seem to have replaced all the plywood bits that had hollow spots now — the hollow spots are what really attracted the woodpeckers — and they do it pretty seldom now.

          We see the red-bellied tapping our neighbors’ homes, which have vinyl siding! They don’t seem interested in our house, luckily.

          By their flight patterns, calling, and tapping during nesting season, we are pretty certain that the Pileated Woodpecker pair nested directly across the street from us in an open space (green space) area we are lucky to have there (it’s about a mile square, woods, meadows, and wetlands.)

          We have seen more different species of birds from this home than from any other place I’ve ever lived. Almost three columns, single-spaced on an 8.5 X 11 sheet of paper.

          If I remember, I will post the list here.

      • Christopher
        Posted January 30, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        Thank you! I will see if anyone local has them or something similar. I have spotted four woodpecker species in my yard this far (moved 8 months ago) including one pileated who was hunting on my pecan tree but they pretty much ignore me.

  11. Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Wow, lucky neighborhood to have pileated woodpeckers. Very nice

  12. Stuartg
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Don’t be too surprised at a hand-held photo of the full moon.

    After all, it is an object in full sunlight even if the photographer isn’t.

    A spot meter will let the photographer know the appropriate exposure is roughly the same as anything else lit by bright sunlight.

    • Posted January 31, 2018 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      Of course, the moon gets the same exposure as direct sun on earthly objects. This is dead-simple with a manual camera.

      However, his camera full-auto all the time (at least while he’s using it!); and the maximum aperture at 1200mm equivalent (max. telephoto on the lens) is f/6.5* (and at 1200mm equivalent) so getting a sharp image is still a challenge.

      (* I just checked the Canon page for the camera, I thought it was more like f/8 or f/11.)

      The camera and lens seem to be tuned for the telephoto end of things, so it does surprisingly well at 1200mm equivalent, with only a 1/2.3 sensor size. The lens does have IS, so that helps.

    • Posted January 31, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      I have always found that simply framing the subject is hard at FLs like 1200mmm. With hand-shake, you can barely keep it in the frame.

      IS helps a lot with this; but I still prefer to mount to a tripod or monopod. Monopods are very effective and quick to use.

  13. Posted January 30, 2018 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Woodpeckers never cease to amaze me.

  14. Posted February 1, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Good job, Jamie!

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