The Pilliated Woodpecker

I’ve never been a bird-watcher.   I’ve seen birds, I’ve taken pictures of birds, I’ve even watched a few birds, but I’ve never been a bird-watcher.

I think it stems from my attempts at drawing birds when I was young.

I never really knew what to do with the feet.

I had no issue with putting the eyes on one side of the bird’s head, but I really hated those dangling feet.

When I got a little older, I began drawing minimalist birds.  That took the issue of dangling feet out of the equation.  The issue of flounder-like eyes was also averted.

I liked the minimalist birds so much my drawings always featured flocks of birds.  I took some liberties with color.


It seemed clear that the allure of bird-watching had escaped me.

Until last week.

Early in the morning of the second day traveling with our friends, Cindy and Bill, Cindy knocked on our door to let me know that she and Bill had spotted a Pilliated Woodpecker!!  (Cindy had looked it up on-line).


I grabbed my camera and ran out to take a picture of said woodpecker.

Silhouetted against a tree was the proud and mighty woodpecker.  Was he the red-headed, pilliated woodpecker?

“See my red head?”  

I snapped away while not just one, but two, pilliated woodpeckers had breakfast on the tree outside our door.

(the lens was foggy, but you get the drift).

One of the woodpeckers was a little shy and took off when I got too close.

The other was so intent on breakast he let me get fairly close.

He kept an eye on me.

I kept an eye on him.

I snapped away.

I began to hear other people come out of their room and comment.   “Look, there’s a red……outside”.  “What a….”.

Evidently, red flannel Christmas pajamas are a rare find in Florida.



Category: Cast of Characters, Mr. H, Smile
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(3) Comments and (1) Reply

  1. Chris | January 6, 2013 at 11:15 pm | Reply

    Did you know that pilleated woodpeckers dril square holes in trees? It’s true…we had one in NH that made very unique designs in our old elm tree. You got some great pictures…thanks!

  2. jill | January 7, 2013 at 7:59 am | Reply

    I did NOT know that. Thank you for the inyo. Now I want to go check it out. I wonder why?

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  4. Riverview KC | May 2, 2015 at 7:05 am | Reply

    My son and I spotted a pair eating breakfast on one of our Oak trees. The two of them looked like they were having a whole lot of fun dancing around the side of the old oak.

    I did hear their calls in the woods, but I had no idea what bird was making those sounds…
    Twenty Five years in Riverview, Florida, and I never saw them before, I too had to find out what “kind of woodpeckers these were when I spotted this site.

    Now if someone can tell me what bird makes those constant (3-4 syllables) call every night and morning from March -May just above my bedroom window, I would be greatful!

    • jill | May 2, 2015 at 9:10 pm | Reply

      What a great story! Thanks for sharing. They are pretty impressive birds. I was used to smaller woodpeckers up until our “sighting”. I wonder if the bird making the loud syllabic noises is a whippoorwill? You’ll have to let us know what you discover. Thanks for sharing!! Have a great day

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