10 Enjoyable Information Concerning the Pileated Woodpecker


The Pileated Woodpecker is a wonderful gateway species into birding—particularly for younger children. Massive and straightforward to look at with out binoculars, the Pileated is native to Canada, the Pacific Northwest, and the japanese half of the USA. The spectacular chicken is greatest identified for its distinctive and outstanding crimson crest, which contrasts sharply with its white-and-black face striping, black physique, and black wings with white patches. Glimpsing certainly one of these birds within the wild will go away anybody in awe, however listed here are some enjoyable details that can make you additional recognize this charismatic species. 

1.) Excluding the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, which is basically believed to be extinct, 22 woodpecker species name North America residence. The Pileated is the biggest dwelling woodpecker in North America—almost 3 times taller than the petite Downy Woodpecker. 

2.) Pileated Woodpeckers skilled large inhabitants declines within the japanese United States within the 18th and nineteenth centuries resulting from habitat loss attributable to the clearing of forests for agriculture and timber harvesting. The inhabitants solely began to get well within the Nineteen Twenties with state and federal safety, mixed with forest regrowth and the woodpecker’s skill to use suburban and concrete areas. Their numbers have elevated steadily because the Sixties, to an estimated 2.6 million birds right this moment. 

3.) Pileated pairs traditionally might have required an space as massive as 300 to 900 acres to help nestlings, particularly within the West, however some pairs now increase younger on fewer than 150 acres. A certain signal that the resilient woodpecker is constant to adapt: A pair not too long ago nested in a 74-acre state forest on Staten Island in New York Metropolis.

4.) Pileated Woodpeckers nest nearly solely in snags, or standing useless timber. They’re the chicken’s residence, nursery, and cafeteria. Pileateds choose deciduous and coniferous forests with bigger, outdated development timber that may help their spacious cavities. A useless limb on a dwelling tree or a utility pole may even suffice—a artistic use to outlive in city environments. 

5.) They not often nest in the identical tree hole twice. The sturdy invoice of the Pileated Woodpecker chisels a gap in useless (and, sometimes, reside) wooden to create a house to boost younger. Cavity-nesting geese that may’t excavate their very own holes, resembling Wooden Geese, depend on these deserted Pileated Woodpecker cavities to breed. Think about leaving massive, useless timber as much as give Pileated Woodpeckers—and possibly even their successors—an opportunity to breed in your yard.

6.) The species earns its frequent and species title, pileatus, from the flashy crimson crest that covers the pileum, or prime of the chicken’s head. Each women and men sport this distinctive crimson crest, however the male’s extends additional towards the invoice. 

7.) Pileated Woodpeckers drum slowly, accelerating after which trailing off on the finish, distinguishing them from most different woodpeckers that drum at a gentle fee. They’ll drum near 17 beats per second and can carry out 10 to 30 beats earlier than they take a break. This conduct helps them defend territories and entice mates as part of courtship shows. Nevertheless, louder drumming doesn’t conclusively establish a Pileated Woodpecker: A tiny Downy Woodpecker’s drumming might be deceptively loud if it’s hammering away on a hollowed-out limb. 

8.) There’s no mistaking a Pileated Woodpecker’s name—their loud, escalating shrieks recall to mind a maniacal snigger and might be heard from a distance. The birds additionally make a fast sequence of cuk-cuk-cuk sounds in flight and when touchdown. Territorial calls—helpful for alerting different woodpeckers that they’ve entered a Pileated’s turf—are a higher-pitched model of this name. The snigger and look of the Pileated is usually cited because the inspiration for Woody the Woodpecker, however this appears to be inaccurate; credit score apparently goes to the Acorn Woodpecker. 

9.) In comparison with different woodpecker species, Pileated Woodpeckers choose to forage in dying and decaying useless timber, utilizing their payments to chisel distinctive rectangular holes looking for prey. Although carpenter ants make up greater than half of their weight-reduction plan, Pileated Woodpeckers additionally eat nuts and fruits. Pileated Woodpecker numbers improve in areas with widespread emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle that kills ash timber, suggesting that Pileated Woodpeckers might be one of many strongest strains of protection to regulate non-native forest pests.  

10.) PIE-lee-ay-tid or PILL-ee-ay-tid? You may need heard this chicken’s title pronounced each methods. Whereas the previous is technically right, many individuals use the latter and each have change into generally accepted within the chicken world. So don’t fret: Use whichever you favor, and simply know that this isn’t the final complicated chicken title you’ll encounter. 



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