It’s always a good idea to travel with a camera around here, even if it’s only to walk down the driveway to check the mailbox. I frequently see interesting wildlife so I make a habit of keeping a camera within reach at all times. On this hike to the mailbox I was treated to a clear look at a pileated woodpecker perched on a telephone pole. These birds aren’t extremely rare but they are shy so up-close encounters are rare. I usually only see them swooping through the forest or hear them calling and hammering on trees.
I often see the much smaller downy and hairy woodpeckers but this giant is the king of woodpeckers. The crow-sized Pileated woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in North America, unless of course the Ivory Billed woodpecker isn’t really extinct after all. Pileated woodpeckers are mainly found in Eastern North America from Florida all the way up to the southern end of James Bay. They feed on wood boring insects and are specially fond of carpenter ants. If you’re lucky you might get one to come to a suet feeder too.