Monday, June 7, 2010

Pileated Paradise- Woodpecker Espionage

One of my sources tipped me off to this Pileated Woodpecker nest. I went there at 7:30 this morning and as many of you know, I'm not a morning person. I'm not a grumpy person in the morning; I'm just slow to start. I am awake between 6:30 and 7, but I frequently don't get out of my bathrobe until after ten. As a gardener, photographer, and birder, this poses numerous challenges. Many of my preferred subjects have left the fields, forests and fens for the mall by the time I'm ready to engage. Also, the light is usually better in the morning for some things, like landscapes and close ups of flowers. I can assure you, too that the later it gets in the day the hotter it gets which makes gardening more rigorous than it might otherwise be. But, much as I don't love the early hours, I do love a challenge. Bring on the heat of the day, the mosquitoes, the already well fed birds and beasts and crumby lighting! I'm your girl. The reasons I went so early today were two-fold. One reason was that I had an appointment with a service person at my house and had to beat them back to my place. The other reason, I'm not terribly ashamed to admit, was because I  fully intended to trespass to get these images. Stealth would hopefully serve where discretion clearly would not. I am discreet enough that I'm not going to say where this was, but not so decent a person that I would have stayed home rather than lurk around at the crack of dawn behind someone's outbuilding. Solid espionage requires calculated risk and a low moral standard, or at least, a very skewed moral standard. Perhaps, a double moral standard, which is no moral standard at all. Did you follow that? That is going to be my argument in court, should I get caught. My plan is that it will be so confusing that the judge will demand, "Counselors, approach the bench!" Since I'll be defending myself, that will be me. The judge will be in a hopeless bind when he suggests to me  that I try a psychiatric defense. I'm going to pull wildly at my own hair and while hopping up and down bellow "Blame the woodpeckers!"
And who will be able to blame me after they see these photos, my defense exhibits? Look how cute they are! There are three of them. Pileateds usually have between three and five eggs. The chicks are developed enough, that I can see at least one of them is male. His little red cheeks are beginning to show.
I did not see the male, only this female feeding them. I learned the identification differences between males and females after my previous Pileated post where I erred about the gender. She does not have red cheeks. Neither do I, as I am without shame. Pileated woodpeckers only use the nest cavity, excavated by the male in April, for one season. Then, they abandon it. The chicks fledge about a month after hatching. I'm guessing they aren't too far from leaving. So, for me, it was now or never. Both parents raise the young. They feed them insects and especially like Carpenter ants. The bad news is that I only saw two chicks poke out of the hole for feeding. That does not bode well for the less aggressive of the bunch. Two of them will grow up to be trespassers; one will not.

 Thanks to  Wikipedia for some of the information. Some of it, I made up, honest, Your Honor.


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18 comments:

  1. Absolutely worth going to jail for!! I will even come see you!!! ;} These are great--good job --those babies are just adorable!!!

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  2. Thank you, G.G.,
    Will you bring a saw perhaps spirited in a pie? And, the pie could be made of four and twenty blackbirds as the rhyme goes? RRR

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  3. Your blog was neat. Ditto the photos.

    mike

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  4. Great pictures, I have never seen baby woodpeckers before!
    allyson

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  5. What a great friend to share these gems with you. Exquisite photos Robin! Nice and sharp and great light. Looks like they are nesting in a pole of some kind. Once they fledge, they will be hammering everything.

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  6. They are in a telephone pole and a fairly new one at that! If I were a woodpecker, I'd choose something soft and punky like a near to dead spruce, not a hard, chemically treated phone pole.Organic all the way, baby!

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  7. This is an e mail which I recieved from the secret source of the woodpecker whereabouts. I thought this was hilarious and so am sharing with you all:

    "As an accessory before the fact your honor, I never thought she would do it."
    J

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  8. Great pictures Robin. I would have trespassed too.

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  9. Adorable little Woodpeckers! Fantastic shots! Also love your beautiful Irises and the starfish on your slide show.
    HG

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  10. Thank you, Richard! I'll need friends in jail!

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  11. HG, you are the first to comment about the slide show! Thank you so much, RRR

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  12. So, how many Pileated babies left the nest......three, I hope!
    Beautiful photos. Keep on trespassing if this is what you find. The bleeding hearts were lovely, but now I like the iris....changing flowers with the season....

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  13. Wonderful shots. Whatever about being a morning grouch, it would be well worth getting up in the middle of the night or going to court for those shots.

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  14. I'm not sure how many Pileateds left the nest. It's about 40 feet up so I can't look in to see. I too, hope that three left swift of wing with pensive hearts.
    Yours, Bill Shakespeare

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  15. Thanks Vicki and HG about the irises and the starfish in the slide show. Do people like the slide show? If you double click on it you can see the images larger.

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  16. Ann, I couldn't agree more that those shots were worth what it took, except perhaps the Poison Ivy I think has appeared on my ankle..........oh well, ya it's worth that, too!

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  17. I believe in local justice; ergo if that were my land (it wasn't was it?), I would be out there with my pump shotgun firing wildly (over your pretty head, of course), watching you scramble out of the way in your bathrobey frock..

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  18. So! That was YOU shooting at me! I'll be sure to pass this on to our peace officer so that when he issues the warrant he'll have all the facts. Uh oh, that would mean I'd have to say where I had been I guess, huh? Scratch that.

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