Another Pileated Surprise

by Carl Strang

Sitting at the computer early Saturday morning in my parents’ house in Culver, Indiana, I heard a pileated woodpecker calling. I didn’t believe it at first, which also was my reaction when I first heard one at Mayslake Forest Preserve last spring. A few minutes later it called again and I had to go out and see. Sure enough.

It was shy, and I couldn’t get close, but there’s no mistaking the bird’s identity in this highly magnified photo fragment.

The local red-headed woodpeckers were going nuts. Yes, in town, albeit a small town, where the trees don’t look all that different in size and scatter from many a suburban Chicago area neighborhood, there have been red-headed woodpeckers nesting for years.

The red-headeds have nested successfully, too. Taking advantage of the disturbance the pileated left in its wake, I photographed this fledgling.

This incident was yet another bit of experience leading me to believe that pileated woodpeckers, once very rare regionally, are expanding their numbers and acceptable habitat range.

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