I lifted my eyes toward the treetops, and took in the jagged black and white underwings of a large bird. It flew below the canopy, but high among the branches, then landed halfway up a tree trunk and started drumming. It was about 50 feet from me, and I was happy to stand there for awhile to admire. Look up, listen, watch, marvel. Pileated woodpeckers are so impressive.
The sound of the woods is always wonderful. Quiet and still and noisy at the same time. There are crows cawing, some little bird sounds…the tweets and the chee-eeps. And often woodpecker sounds. The familiar drumming gives your eyes a direction to search, but the pileated woodpecker is still hard to spot. Some say it’s shy. This time, though, I could see it. I could watch that incredible crested head nodding to pick at the bark.
After a minute or so, the surrounding noise of the woods tugged my attention, and I recognized there was a second woodpecker. Louder, closer, somewhere behind me. I wondered, almost subconsciously, if the two were communicating with each other. My curiosity got the best of me, and I turned.
Another one. It was standing upright as woodpeckers do, easily balanced on the side of a tree, not far at all from me. [the one in the photo]
What magnificent creatures.
Photographed March 5, 2020