It wasn't the 55-degree weather that called me out to the woods. Nor the bright sunshine, although it was the first we've seen in weeks. It was the call of the pileated woodpecker that beckoned me.
Two of the giant woodpeckers live in separate dead trees at the back of our property, but they usually roam far afield. Yesterday afternoon one of the woodpeckers teased me by coming near our front porch. I put my long lens on my camera and stepped outside. It immediately retreated about 50 yards. I followed. It retreated again. I followed. This went on for a good 30 minutes in which time I had walked most of my wooded acres.
The cagey bird would never let me get close enough even for a telephoto shot. The photo above is from my post of Jan. 6, 2009. If you ever get close enough to study a pileated, do so. They are as tall (17 inches) as a red-shouldered hawk and slice through the woods like a missile.
The call of the pileated is akin to what an effeminate rooster might sound like. When they bang on dead trees for bugs it can sound almost like carpenters framing a house.
I did get some needed exercise chasing the rascal. How about a new reality show for TV: Are you smarter than a woodpecker?