Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Dryocopus pileatus, what a strange name for a rather odd-looking woodpecker. I have been away from blogging on Nature and Wildlife Pics due to ill-health and retrictions on my nature hikes. But I did take a recent trip…


I was recently in Seattle and my friend and I visited a few local parks. We had plans on hiking around estuaries in the Pacific Northwest, but I was rather sick for almost half my trip, so that trip did not occur. I did see osprey, eagles, blue heron and various songbirds like the Spotted Towhee and the Steller’s Jay as we went to parks locally, but my lucky find was the Pileated Woodpecker at a nearby forest.

I saw him/her ground foraging in heavy brush as we were getting in the car to leave. This bird was not fearful of people and I crept up, but could not get a really good image due to all the obstructions. We did scare it off into a tree of the dark forest eventually though, since now two of us surrounded it. The photo below was right before he left the decaying, downed tree in the grassy spot. I was getting closer at this point.


I usually agree with Cornell on just about anything they post, but when they said, “The Pileated Woodpecker is one of the biggest, most striking forest birds on the continent,” I have to say not compared to owls in my opinion. At least they qualified it as, “one of the biggest…” I am not sure about striking either. To me they are odd-looking.


I do have a story on the Spotted Towhee and Jay which I will post on, but here is the “funny looking, but friendly” woodpecker.

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22 Responses to Pileated Woodpecker

  1. David says:

    Nice captures and I agree with your assessment. It’s an interesting looking bird but I wouldn’t consider its look striking.

  2. Such a cute bird!
    You took perfect pictures of it! 🙂

  3. Hi Donna,
    I think we can all agree that there are seasons in life, not the four seasons due to the earth’s rotation around the sun, but looking at the birth to burial patterns. Maybe that pileated woodpecker is a picture of your current season; your struggle with health issues and the trauma of last year’s trip to Europe.

    Possibly you are in Pennsylvania this weekend visiting your mom. I don’t know your status with her, but even that can be seasonal. She might even reflect on her ‘Donna’ seasons.

    I believe God is constant but our lives go through seasons. Just as you were not able to find great birds in Seattle, so there are seasons that we can reflect on and, more importantly, seasons we can anticipate. He wants to take you to new and more profound places with Him, to be entering a new season of greater Greatness.

    Great vibrant colors in some of those pileated woodpecker photos.

    • donna213 says:

      Thank you Tom for your comment. I am going to PA in a couple of weeks, but my parents are both long passed. I have very little family left and am going to see my cousin. I did find great birds in Seattle, but did not really put the effort in to photographing them. I shot heron, eagle and osprey, but I have so many better images of those birds, I was just looking for birds I never see. We have Pileated Woodpeckers here, but I rarely get a photo. I have a nice image (much brighter) on GWGT somewhere, but could not find it. One bird I found, I have no clue what it is. Maybe I will post it so someone tells me.

      My heart health has been getting so much better as the doctors said it would. It was hard believing them at first, but I am nearing the end of many of my restrictions. What got me in Seattle was a very bad cold. I am so suseptible to bronchial issues with my heart. They really take a toll on me.

  4. Well, it does have striking markings on its head!

  5. Your lead picture is outstanding. I’ve never been able to get close to this bird for a shot like that. I’ve always thought they were rather shy. Hope you’re feeling better.

    • donna213 says:

      Thank you. Me either. I always need long glass for this bird, and I only had my 300mm. I practically walked up to him. He just kept pecking away at the log. When both me and my friend where taking photos, he had enough of us.

  6. Nice to hear from you again, hopefully things go better for you now.

    I really love woodpeckers, here in the Netherlands we only have 6 species of woodpeckers and the one you show here is ofcourse not one of them unfortunetly. Great pictures you could make, specialy the first two !

  7. Awesome captures, Donna, and so glad to hear you’re back and much better in health.

    • donna213 says:

      Thank you Donna. I was going to go out today, but I still have some time to wait for the all clear.I just can’t go anywhere I will be alone yet.

  8. Nice that you were able to get so close to really observe this bird. Recently I was on a birding walk and we spotted one. I didn’t take any photos as I was there to be in the moment and learn and not focus on capturing them with my camera. They are perhaps not the most graceful bird but impressive nonetheless, IMO.

    • donna213 says:

      Most birding outings I am with birders, so there is a bit of learning and appreciating for me too. Many times the birds are too far away to photograph. I never really “think” about photographing. It is a lost instinctive to me. I like the “hunt” and seeing how far I can push to get my photos without really disturbing my prey. That is the thrill.

  9. fantastic photos! this has always been a very special bird for me, and now in ecuador there are some that are very similiar.. the ‘powerful’ and ‘guayaquil’ woodpeckers are similar, and the powerful ones stop in every so often….

    will keep this page online and appreciate it again when i am back at the property…

    will you be participating in the global big day tomorrow?/saturday? if so, have fun!

    welcome back!

    • donna213 says:

      Thank you, glad I am back. I still am not free to do hikes, but in a few months, will be back on the trails I hope. Woodpeckers are a special bird as you say. This bird is big and also powerful.

      • when at the property, i read the queue of comments on your post, and i am so very sorry that your health has not been the best.. suffice to know that i’m sending get-better- pronto vibes… wish you were here to admire the tropicals/botanicals (giant begonias just finished peak bloom) and admirme the birds. it’s a very healing-kind of atmosphere… love, lisa

  10. goldenbrodie says:

    Your blog is so extensive and lovely and WOW! Do you ever sleep? I’ll follow up.

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