Ah, cool weather at last! The sky is clear, and purple martins were whooping it up in the back yard this morning. Probably twenty five of them were flitting around the pine trees.
I called Bernie away from his desk to come listen to the racket the martins were making, and mentioned that I kept hearing a knocking sound.
Bernie, who can see the tiniest lizard and the best camouflaged snake (but not anything needing to be picked up on the floor of the house...) immediately looked up higher in the pine tree and spotted this gorgeous pileated woodpecker having a bug for breakfast.
We always get excited when we see Pileated Woodpeckers because they are rather large, and make an impressive knocking sound as they peck (when we moved here I kept wondering why I was hearing jackhammers in the woods, duh...)
This was the first time we have ever had one visit our own garden. We regularly have redheaded woodpeckers, that look rather patriotic with their bright red, white and black/blue feathers, and are so serious as they quietly go about their peckering business.
We also have ladder back woodpeckers. They are real characters. They raid the bird seed feeder, shaking their heads from side to side in the seed, which serves to scatter the seeds with their bill. They actually dump all the seed that they don't want or like from the feeder.
When they do come across a seed they actually want, they stop the scattering and grab the good stuff (sunflower seeds), and fly away to another perch to enjoy that treat, or punching it away into a crevice.
Those little rascals can take down my bird seed by 25% in about 10 minutes...I wind up tapping on my window and speaking sharply to the loony bird:
"Stop that. Stop that right now!"
They are so goofy looking as they swing their head, I can almost hear them saying to themselves:
"I don't like this, and I don't want that, I don't like this, oh, and I don't like that...ah, here we go, um, yummy sunflower seed!"
They are so amusing, in their little red cap, that in the end I just wind up going out to buy another bag of bird food, making sure it is a brand with plenty of those tasty black sunflower seeds, because, apparently, the way to a birds heart is through it's stomach, and I want to make sure that Mr. Ladderback will keep coming back to my feeder for more.
Mr. Pileated...well, I think he is just going to have to make do with whatever bug is available, 20 feet up the loblolly pine tree. I hope he enjoyed his feast this morning, and will come back.
He's welcome here, anytime!