Pileated Woodpecker

There was a time, and not so many years ago either, That I yearned to see one of these showy woodpeckers. They are not uncommon in Nova Scotia but spend most of their time in old growth forests far from where I ever lived. My first glimpse of one was in about 1995 when one visited the wooded area adjacent to my home. Just a fleeting glimpse that time . . . no pictures at all.

In 1997 I saw one again out at the end of my very long driveway. I got pictures too. It was a lousy day weather-wise though and I did not have the lenses I have now, so the photos, while important to me, are best left unpublished.

In 2001, I again glimpsed one outside my sunroom window. I grabbed the camera but he did not tarry about and I got not a single shot of him.

In the summer of 2002, things changed.

This is the male of a pair that carried out courtship rituals in my backyard that summer. The male returned many times to drum for a mate on the power pole just 50 feet from my side door. I was thrilled to be able to photograph him.

As a side note, I have read that male pileateds served as the "model" for the famous Walter Lantz cartoon character "Woody Woodpecker." They are our largest woodpeckers, being about the size of a crow.

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