Readers’ wildlife photos

May 11, 2022 • 8:00 am

Today’s photos are only two, but they’re of a spectacular bird, the Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), America’s largest pecker—aside from Trump. This is an animal that many readers seem to have mistaken for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, a species thought by some to still be alive, but rare and perhaps even extinct.  At least five or six readers commented that they’d certainly seen an Ivory-billed, but doubtless they mistook a Pileated for its elusive relative.

These come from reader Bryan Lepore, as do his notes (indented):

I give you my personal best picture of one of my favorite “backyard” animals – the pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)!

Location : mid-Massachusetts

Specific date : 27 April 2022
Time of day : approx. noon.
iPhone 13 camera zoomed in.
Side of a busy road – she (he?) was not scared too easily.
It was exhilarating that she let me get so close!

Here’s the (cut) stump she (he?) was inspecting

9 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. I suppose the bill contains some white, so it might strike the viewer that the black is just some random dirt – but we have learned here that bills, such as Dorothy’s, are quite identifiable over the years, and not the sporadic result of dirt or getting damaged.

  2. This pileated is indeed a female. The crest on males is red all the way to the beak, and there is also a small red streak on the “mustache” going back from the beak. For the last few years I’ve been lucky to have a pileated appear on my peanut butter log a couple of times during the winter. It’s always amazing to see them.

  3. I love pileated woodpeckers and their calls. I see them often, but haven’t been able to achieve an adequate photo to my liking. Still trying, but kudos to you for getting such a nice, detailed shot.

    1. Mark, we hung a suet log behind our house and that reliably brings them into photography range (once they discover it).

      1. Thanks, James. We put out suet, and yes, they came, but my camera was never handy. Then the bears came for the suet. It’s been a drama!

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