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Pileated Woodpecker

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Old Thursday 2nd August 2007, 13:13   #1
DerFarm
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Pileated Woodpecker

I saw a Pileated Woodpecker yesterday. My bird book says they are somewhat rare. How rare are sightings?

I am in SW Tennessee, USA, just north of Huntsville, AL

BTW, it was a MONSTER. I didn't know non-cariron, non-raptors could get that big.

Thank you
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Old Thursday 2nd August 2007, 14:03   #2
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Oh yes the Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus....a truly magnificent and breath-taking bird! What book are you using because the Pileated is not exactly what I would call rare (at least in the Eastern portion of the US)...maybe elusive or secretive but not rare. You are located in SW, Tennessee....well you are definitely within the birds range! What is the habitat around your area like? Are there large tracts of mature trees with dead trees available for nesting, roosting, and foraging? If so you should see the Pileated on occasion and here them all the time! Let me know if you would like any more information.
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Old Thursday 2nd August 2007, 14:15   #3
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They are not that rare, but need big territory. Lucky for us, in some areas they are expnading their range
http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/b...ge/discuss.htm

Congrats, I never get good pictures of them. In the yard it might be possible.
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Old Thursday 2nd August 2007, 14:27   #4
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Having looked up the sounds, we hear them all the time. I think I've got at least two pairs.

We live in mixed field, multi-use, rural area. I don't know as how I'd characterize the area tree sets as mature, but there are lots of dead trees, mostly on the ground, and lots of tall trees about 20-40 years old. I'd guess that qualifies as mature around here.

I'll try to find the nest and get a picture.
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Old Thursday 2nd August 2007, 14:34   #5
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good luck! believe it or not (although I have never seen it) PW will commonly feed on the ground at rotten logs, at least that is what I have heard. What types of trees do you have? hardwoods, pines, mix of both?
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Old Thursday 2nd August 2007, 15:07   #6
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Mostly hardwood and "trash" (gum trees and so forth). The hardwoods are a form of maple, lots of shag hickory, walnut, oak and so forth.

Lots of cedar.
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Old Thursday 2nd August 2007, 17:44   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DerFarm View Post
Mostly hardwood and "trash" (gum trees and so forth). The hardwoods are a form of maple, lots of shag hickory, walnut, oak and so forth.

Lots of cedar.
I would hardly call the gum trash! Carpenter ants (which are a favorite of the PW) favor gum trees over certain species to build their nest. In addition all of the PW nests I have found except for 1 (it was in a pine) have been in Gum trees. Your area sounds like it could support a pair of PW maybe more. Good luck looking for them and keep us posted!
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Old Friday 3rd August 2007, 15:16   #8
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Hi Der Farm and others

Just to add my bit.....I am currently visiting family in Oregon and saw my first pileated woodpecker yesterday in a mixed wood forest! Great stuff and it's soooo BIG. I had no idea they were that big. Actually, I saw 2 new woodies yesterday, also a downie so I am feeling quite excited too.

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Old Friday 3rd August 2007, 15:24   #9
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Hi Der Farm and others

Just to add my bit.....I am currently visiting family in Oregon and saw my first pileated woodpecker yesterday in a mixed wood forest! Great stuff and it's soooo BIG. I had no idea they were that big. Actually, I saw 2 new woodies yesterday, also a downie so I am feeling quite excited too.

Joanne
Its great isn't it!? I know it is an experience I will never forget... Great about the Downy too! The size difference is amazing isn't it?
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Old Friday 3rd August 2007, 17:35   #10
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Some years ago, I saw my first PWP while vacationing in the Smoky Mountains. I was absolutely thrilled and in awe at their size. A few years later, my wife and I cashed in our annual vacation dollars and tapped the bank to buy a weekend getaway cabin on the Tippecanoe River in Indiana. It turned out to be an incredible source for birding. Anyway, one Friday afternoon we arrive, unpack, and I walk down to the river from the short bluff the cabin was perched upon. As I walked past an older, dead Maple, I notice it's trunk base surrounded by hundreds of white wood chips, flat and about the size of your thumbnail. The entire tree was surrounded for about 20 ft from the trunk. Then another one came fluttering down. I looked up and could only see a retangular hole about 30 feet up. Then out popped Woody! A PWP stuck out his head, dropped the next chip, looked at me like "What?", then went back in to continue carving.
That summer, we enjoyed watching them raise their family. Our deck on the bluff was about 10 feet lower than that hole and about 75 feet away. What a coincidence; what a blessing.
The next year, they came back and did the same thing on another dead tree about 100 feet away.
As a footnote, we sold that place, headed back to the bank, and started working on our nature preserve project. We continue to get treated to the jungle yell of the PWP.
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Old Friday 3rd August 2007, 17:47   #11
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Count yourself lucky. I live in the southern Ohio area and have only seen one once. Never long enough to get a picture I'm afraid.
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Old Friday 3rd August 2007, 17:49   #12
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Very Cool experience with the pileated. Did you get any good pictures?
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Old Friday 3rd August 2007, 17:58   #13
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Very Cool experience with the pileated. Did you get any good pictures?
I did take some but it was dark in the in these Oregon woods, the fir and pine trees are so tall the sunlight struggles to reach the ground. So they will be dark unfortunately. I won't get a chance to look at them until I return to England, in a couple of weeks, but hopefully some will be good enough to post.

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Old Friday 3rd August 2007, 18:03   #14
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...if you ask me for birding photos, I shyly shrug and admit:
WRT pics, well...yes and no.
I am not much of a photographer, armed with an older 2 MP point-and-shoot with 3x optical tele + 4x digi-tele. So...yes, I have pics. No, not very professional.
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Old Friday 3rd August 2007, 18:03   #15
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re: Pileated Woodpecker

Quote:
Originally Posted by Audubob View Post
I would hardly call the gum trash! Carpenter ants (which are a favorite of the PW) favor gum trees over certain species to build their nest. In addition all of the PW nests I have found except for 1 (it was in a pine) have been in Gum trees. Your area sounds like it could support a pair of PW maybe more. Good luck looking for them and keep us posted!
Talking about Gum Trees and Pileated. This is the closest I got to getting a picture of one, even though I got a good look at him before he flew into the Gum Tree. I see him maybe once a month
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Old Friday 3rd August 2007, 18:42   #16
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re: Pileated Woodpecker

By the way, the black and white on the left side of the tree is him.
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Old Saturday 4th August 2007, 02:46   #17
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Met my first Piliated about a year ago. Fabulous birds. Got a good photo earlier this year.

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f2...hlandPIWO1.jpg

Shortly after seeing my first piliated, I went in to do a shift at the bird rescue and was handed a list of duties, one was to medicate and hand feed a juvenile piliated. Very exciting.
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Old Saturday 4th August 2007, 03:14   #18
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By the way, the black and white on the left side of the tree is him.
I was just about to ask where the PW was!

Wow handfeeding a PW that most have been something...
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