As I write this, there is a pileated woodpecker beating the crap out of a pine tree in my front yard with its face. I’ve been watching him now for about ten minutes. When I came to my desk, there he was, across the yard, on a stump—just a bright swathe of red with his darker body blending into the stump. Then, scooting backwards down the trunk, he tore apart the tree about 10 feet from my window. Amazing. Every so often with his limber neck he would pull some unsuspecting wood-boring bug out of the tree, or search around in the shards of bark he had knocked to the ground. Hard to see him now, especially now that my cat Sazha is staring out the window at himtoo, but I can still hear his hammering.
We used to see these a lot, but recently I’ve hardly seen them, and certainly not to watch for this long.
This makes me want more than ever to see an ivory-billed woodpecker. It is hard to imagine that it is another three or so inches larger than the pileated. And how magnificent is it that guys from Cornell have spotted it for certain?
Now the pileated is flying from tree to tree, holding wide his amazing black and white wings, showing off his frilly crest. And though he's probably not thinking about how much helooks like a dinosaur, and neither is Sazha, I sure am.