I’ve never been a bird fancier, but I’ve always been a hiker. Since I take along a camera, taking pictures of birds just seems, well…natural. I’ve been learning about birds based on birds I’ve already found. For instance, I learned the difference between a Hairy Woodpecker and a Downy Woodpecker because I had taken a picture of a Downy. I’ve been using the following website to help identify the birds: http://www.whatbird.com/.
On the pages for the individual birds it has a description, usually a picture and also the types of sounds they make. While listening to the various sounds some of these birds make, I realized I’d been hearing some of them. The Northern Flicker which I am currently trying to get a picture of, for instance, and the Pileated Woodpecker which I have already photographed. Today, while hiking, I tried to track down a Northern Flicker that I could hear. I got distracted by three deer and ended up taking shots of them instead.
Later, while hiking in the same area that I had seen a Pileated Woodpecker a few days ago, I heard one calling. So, into the woods I went, listening to the forest sounds, trying to comprehend the difference between Squirrels chasing each other and the drumming sound of the Pileated Woodpecker. I had hoped to find the male and photograph him because I already have a number of photos of the female.
From a few days ago, this female nervously looked for food on this log while I shot pictures of her.
Always mindful of her surroundings, she even cast a few nervous glances at me.
So today while hiking, I tried to find the male. I heard a Pileated Woodpecker calling and left the hiking trail. I went into the woods about a hundred feet and then stopped to listen. I could hear a faint drumming. The Pileated Woodpecker doesn’t make that sharp tata tat tata tat sound that the smaller woodpeckers make. It makes a low drumming sound. I listened and I could hear it drumming. Deeper into the woods I went. I had gotten very close and could hear it drumming in the trees around me but couldn’t see it. Then I noticed movement in a large dead tree about fifty feet away.
The male Pileated Woodpecker has a red stripe from the bill back.
He turned out to be much more shy than the female and as soon as I tried to inch closer, he flew away.