Bob & Ellen's Excellent Adventure

Black Sheep Tower House

A Walk in the Woods, Winter Edition

January 5, 2021 Late afternoons and early evenings we often hear the owls in the woods, and occasionally the clear drumming of a woodpecker on a dead tree. There are many deer and assorted wildlife in the woods (Sydney could spend hours just sniffing).  This week I’ve been thinking about woodpeckers… you will remember that I saw one near the tower last fall, with evidence of past woodpecker holes in the siding. Let’s hope that THIS woodpecker never lands on our tower with the intention of excavating for insects!

On New Year’s Day I was out on the trails and found this tree – I wasn’t sure, but suspected a Pileated Woodpecker had done this, and until I looked it up on line later I had no idea one bird could make a pile of wood chips like that!

Years ago, Bob and I were driving through a pine forest in New Hampshire, somewhere that we don’t remember, but we definitely remember this enormous sleek black bird literally sailing in across the road and grabbing onto a tree trunk. It was so stunning, with the red crest and white accents, we stopped the car and just watched. The thing was huge, with such a fierce long beak, and the triangular crest, it looked like a pterodactyl come to life! (Maybe the inspiration for Woody Woodpecker?) We have them in Maryland in our woods around the house, hear them thwacking away at dead trees, and see them at work, but they are half the size of the spectacular bird we saw that day…

Sydney and I love tramping the woods behind the house, where there are old trails cut from harvesting wood decades ago – the trails are becoming overgrown now but easy to see in the wintertime. Here is another Pileated Woodpeckered tree… I love this close-up photo – look at that vicious beak! Here are some links to learn more about them, with an audio-video of their strangely un-vicious sounding call, and loud drumming sound. (apologies for not getting the credits for the woodpecker photos I snagged online…)

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