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home : columns : columns January 22, 2018


1/9/2018 1:15:00 PM
Sisters Country birds
Pileated woodpecker and young in nesting cavity. photo by Douglas Beall
+ click to enlarge
Pileated woodpecker and young in nesting cavity. photo by Douglas Beall


Dead snags become large drums for the pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus). Whether proclaiming territory, communicating, or chipping out a nest, decaying trees are essential for a healthy population of the largest species of woodpecker in North America. With a body length of 15-19 inches and a 29-inch wingspan, they have a home territory of 320-600 acres.

Both parents excavate the 10- to 24-inch-deep nest, which requires 3 to 6 weeks, with wood chips providing the only nest lining. Two to five white eggs are laid in April or May and hatch in 15 to 18 days. The parents take turns in brooding and feeding the young until fledging occurs in 24 to 30 days. When there are three or more hatchlings the parents will be very careful to equally feed each the same amount of regurgitated food. Pileated woodpeckers' diet consists mainly of carpenter ants, termites, grasshoppers and many forest berries. The definition of pileated is "capped" or the crest from the top of the head from the bill to the nape. A group of pileated woodpeckers is known as a "crown" of woodpeckers.

To view more images of the pileateds, visit http://abirdsingsbecauseithasasong.com.





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