Sunday Showcase: Pileated Woodpecker

Bernard Tremblay got these amazing close-up photos of a male Pileated Woodpecker feeding on a fallen log yesterday, November 30, 2013, in the Weaselhead Nature Area in SW Calgary. After a few minutes the woodpecker was scared off by a Merlin.

The camera used was a Nikon 7000 + AF-S Nikkor 300 mm lens + Nikon AF-S teleconverter TC -14E 1.4 x. The camera settings were: 420 mm 1/1600 sec f5.6 ISO 2000.

Pïleated Woodpecker 1

Male Pileated Woodpecker. The red crest extends all the way to the base of the bill; on the female the red doesn’t reach the bill. There is also a red mark from the bill to the throat, which is black on female birds.

Pileated Woodpecker 2

Here you can see the long tongue which it uses to extract carpenter ants from trees.

Pileated Woodpecker 3


Pileated Woodpecker 4


Pileated Woodpecker 5


6 thoughts on “Sunday Showcase: Pileated Woodpecker

  1. Spotted one tonight in North Haven (NW Calgary close to Thorncliffe) but have been hearing them for about a week. Very exciting. We’ve lived in Calgary for over 40 years and are from Saskatoon so this is a first for us. There are lots of Flickers in this neighborhood and the odd Downy, but this is definitely the first Pileated!!

  2. Thanks Sue, Ash and Audrey Niles for your comments. This was the first time a saw a pileated woodpecker in almost 7 years having only recently moved to Calgary from Regina, where they are only seen in migration. A person on the weaselhead trail, seeing my camera, figured I was a birder and said that he regularly saw pileated woodpeckers on the northeast corner of the bridge that crosses the Elbow river. I read recently that the pileated woodpeckers roost in the cavities that they excavate which must help them go through the cold weather and that their cavities are used by close to 35 other species of birds and mammals. Truly an amazing bird !

    • OMGosh, I’ve only seen one a couple years ago from quite a distance and then it flew past me with no time to take a shot. I remember feeling such awe at the size of this bird! Such a great opportunity for you to get these amazing photos Bernard. I will have to keep looking.

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