Monday, September 30, 2019

Pileated Woodpecker

Sometimes you don’t even have to search for an interesting photographic subject.  I was lounging beneath a large cedar tree, waiting out a light drizzle of rain, when I heard some activity in the vegetation almost directly in front of me.  About the time I got my camera set up, a Pileated Woodpecker stuck its head up and took a look at me.

This is the largest of our Ohio woodpeckers and is always a treat to encounter.  I thought my presence was going to drive it away.  I just kept still and waited.  Humans are much less threatening when their facial features are hidden behind a camera.

My presence apparently didn’t cause the bird any alarm, because it continued tearing into a rotten stump in search of insects.

I’ve been trying to shoot some video of my photo subjects when possible.  The video shows the woodpecker breaking into a nest of ants. It’s particularly interested in grabbing the white colored larvae.  It snaps up what is readily available and then uses its tongue to probe into crevices to haul out any hidden morsels.  I stopped filming when the bird shifted around to the back of the stump.  It stayed out of sight for a few minutes before flying off.


  1. Wow! I envy your amazing encounter. They always get right on the other side of the tree for me. That close up portrait is my favorite.

    1. Hi, Becky. I was just lucky this time. Sometimes that happens.

  2. Great shots.

    From my (limited) experience, they are rather shy birds.

  3. Such prehistoric looking birds! We have a nesting cuuple somewhere here.