Success! At last I found a Pileated Woodpecker that sat still long enough for me to photograph.
Tap,thunk, bonk, just like a hammer on a hollow log — that’s what a pileated woodpecker sounds like when it is chipping away dead wood in its search for food. I heard the bird but couldn’t find it, until I finally caught just a flash of red in the sea of brown bark.
This bird visited every broken branch in a group of large, mature oaks for about 15 minutes, but it was impossible to get a clear shot of it with all the spiny buckthorn undergrowth in the way. Why are there always branches between me and my subject?
Compared to the rat-a-tat of downy woodpeckers, this bird’s bill operated in slow motion. But each strike was a measured blow, like a chisel, and when that bill hit the dead wood, the chips did fly — out of the hole, onto the…
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