For those who saw my black and white posting referring to a superstitious bird (knocking on wood, of course) linked below, I thought I would share a photo of the actual culprit, the pileated woodpecker himself. He was on a huge and very old maple that is one of my favourite trees, behind our house. This bird is doing his best to bring it down single handed beaked.
This hawk sat in the tree outside our house keeping an eye on our bird feeders, during another snowstorm. Most of the photographs we took were spoiled by having so much snow flying across the bird that it was not even clear what it was. Also, the camouflage of this bird is striking and unless you looked very carefully you couldn't even see it at all. And yes, this was taken in April. So this poor hawk is probably thinner than usual and desperately in need of a good meal although the fluffed up feathers make him look big and fat. Will this winter ever end?
Apparently it will and the clue is the sound of birdsong is filling the air as it always does in the spring. We even had an invasion of robins that managed to find some verges that had been cleared of snow by the plows next to the towering banks of white snow.
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We have an abundance of beautiful birds here, many of them being majestic birds of prey. The most commonly admired is the bald eagle, but we have hawks and owls as well. I just caught this red tailed hawk as it soared overhead when we were on our walk in our back garden. These raptors always make me hold my breath as they seem so proud, elegant and free in the skies over the poor earthbound mortals crawling around on the ground beneath.
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My friend Becky told me that the photo I posted the other day was of the female pileated woodpecker as it lacked a moustache. I knew I had taken photographs of both of the birds at the feeder that day, so I went back and found this of the male. This is not such a good composition with all the distractions of background and orange netting in the feeder, but at least you can clearly see what Becky was talking about with this guy's bright moustache! Thanks for making me take another look, +Becky Humphreys
I don't have a long enough lens to get wonderful bird images, but when I had not one, but two pileated woodpeckers around my feeders the other day, I had to get a picture, at least of one of them. Taken through the window, this shows one eyeing the feeder hanging above it. They are the largest woodpecker we have around here and make an impressive noise when they drum on the trees around us. We don't see them very often, but you can always tell when they have found a meal in our trees as they leave huge jagged holes as evidence of where they have been.
So there we were driving along in the car on Saturday morning, not far from our house when suddenly we spotted a tree full of bald eagles. By the time we had turned around and driven back for me to photograph them, they had begun to get restless and were taking off and by the time I took my last photograph there were only 6 left in and around the tree. These wonderful birds nest in the area and feed on the carcasses thrown out from the local chicken farms, mainly. The younger ones tend to be larger than the adults and do not have the distinctive white heads which appear when they are older.