There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pileated Woodpecker

Dryocopus pileatus
Very large woodpecker
Mostly black
Red crest
White stripe on neck
White under wings
Forehead and moustache 
    > red (male) / black (female)

Listen to its call.



When I awoke at 7:45 this morning, I was a little disappointed. I had wanted to join the Saturday morning bird walk but would never make it for the 8:00 start time. Instead, I lay in bed for a while longer before getting up to start my day. As I was brushing my teeth, I glanced out the bathroom window and saw this bird on a large pine tree just outside. I quickly grabbed my camera, which is always at the ready, and began to snap pictures. Soon it was joined by its mate and the two of them took turns chipping away at the bark of the tree between visits to our log feeder. As I watched, other birds began arriving at the feeders. Within twenty minutes, I had seen three woodpeckers (two Pileated and one Downy), three Spotted Towhees, one Bewick’s Wren, one Varied Thrush, a few sparrows of different varieties, three or four finches, the regular Chestnut-backed Chickadees and Oregon Juncos, and, of course, two squirrels and a rabbit. I know what you’re thinking but, no, I didn’t see a partridge out there (or a pear tree either for that matter). Anyway, who needs to get up early to hunt for birds when I’ve got such a parade right outside my window. You've got to love Victoria!

Learn more about the Pileated Woodpecker.

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous bird! And look at how good you are getting at identifying all of them too. Impressive.