Thursday, July 1, 2010

Yesterday's Noisy Visitor

The farmboy had been out gathering eggs yesterday morning when he walked under a tree..and something hit him on the head. It seems we had a rather noisy visitor up there in the oak tree- a pileated woodpecker measuring around a foot in length (crest to tail). He was making quite a racket up there and dropping an awful mess of bark on the boy below him. Our farmboy called us all out to view this special sight. I could not get a clear picture with my camera, so I have borrowed this one from All About Birds. Farmboy and I spent some time reading and found some interesting information about our unique visitor.

The pileated woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in North America measuring anywhere between fifteen and nineteen inches.  They have a cushion behind their beak to keep them from getting a headache, and have a tongue that can wrap around their head. um, wow! They are easily heard but difficult to spot. In their search for ants and beetle larvae they often leave rectangular shaped holes in logs or the trunks of trees-  toppling small saplings- and leaving a mess of bark chips in beneath their foraging. Their nests are found in the cavity of dead trees- unlined, except for a few wood chips- hatching one to six eggs in a clutch.

In past years, the pileated woodpeckers had been reaching endangered levels, however, it is reported that their numbers have increased in all habitat areas except for Arkansas. Here in our neck of the woods, they seem to thrive. We often spot several of various sizes throughout the summer months, and try to search them out when their hammering rings through our little farm yard.

Some may consider this noisy visitor quite a nuisance, however, the farmboy and I thoroughly enjoy the amazing handiwork of our Lord every time we hear the ringing of the pileated woodpecker; it is even more special when we get to see one!

simplychele and the farmboy

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