Pileated Woodpecker – A Backyard First

Pileated Woodpecker

Over the past few days, I’ve had a Pileated Woodpecker show up at my suet feeder.

I’ve never had one in my backyard before and have very rarely seen them around on the island although I know they stay here all year long.

The ones that I’ve seen before have been at higher altitudes and I’m at sea level.

Even a bit of hill seemed to make a difference to sighting them.

At least that has been my experience.

I usually hear them before I see them.

Drumming away on a tree they have a very distinctive sound and when I hear it, I immediately look up and search the trees hoping to get a glimpse of its red crest.

The one in the picture above is a male and you can tell that by the red streak on its cheek.

The female doesn’t have this stripe.

The pileated woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in North America.

Although, that can be debated as the Ivory-bill woodpecker is actually the largest but it is considered extinct.

It has been 73 years since the last conclusive sighting although like bigfoot there is some bad video footage that might show that one still exists.

I have a friend who’s bucket list includes going to Louisiana and searching for the Ivory-bill woodpecker.

He’s not a birder but he read this story and it captured his imagination.

Pileated Woodpecker:

  • about the size of a crow
  • mainly eats carpenter ants but any tree boring insect will do
  • the holes they create in trees are rectangular in shape
  • their drumming can be heard up to a kilometre away
  • and now I have one in my backyard

Jigsaw Puzzle

If you need help with instructions click here.


  1. Lucky you! We used to have one at our home but we haven’t seen one for years. Ours loved to eat apples that had been left on the high branches of the apple tree in the fall.


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