Thursday, July 23, 2015

Woodpecker Family Breakfast

This morning as I sat quietly on the porch with tea and phone, having put out the day's suet and seeds and water, a male Pileated Woodpecker swooped in screeching, and landed on the suet cage to eat his fill. But this time was different; his whole family joined him and I caught it on video, activity starting really to heat up around 0:51 -- and all four communicating not through the Pileated's usual high-decibel jungle screeches, but the throaty burble they use for intimate communication. Few ever get to hear this sound.
The pair's two daughters spar on the tree to the right. Some years the pair who frequent my place winter and summer (but not spring and fall!) have one child, other times they have two. Previous to filming this, I watched the girls hassle Dad to feed them -- they do it with regurgitation, a great thing I've watched -- but now that they are old enough to get their own food, Dad gave them a sharp peck and refused. So they fuss and act up as children do. On the left you'll see Mom as she fends off an intruder, with Dad heroically coming to the rescue. When Pileateds feel threatened they open their wings, looking huge (they're crow-sized) and exposing startling white-bright wing linings. All Pileateds have the bright-red caps. Wish the video was as good as National Geographic, thanks for your patience; but it gives you a peek into Woodpecker World and birdish family life.

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