Thoughts from a small island in eastern Penobscot Bay, Maine
Saturday, October 26, 2013
A pileated woodpecker
Pileated woodpecker holes in spruce trunk
Out walking at noon, I was down looking at the skunk cabbages, which, at this time of year, are of the variety that sends up stalks that will stay thru the winter. I heard a knocking behind me, and looked into the spruce trees. Soon I saw chips of wood falling to the ground, so I traced the source high up around 50 feet or so and saw what was making the sound: a pileated woodpecker, making holes and looking for bugs and such to eat. The large woodpecker didn't notice me, so I crept around to get a better look and then observed it for about two or three minutes before heading on. The chips kept falling to the forest floor as the woodpecker worked away at the hole. Possibly it's the same bird that pecked the large holes in a dead tree (see pic) not far from that one, a bird that I saw there two years ago at about this time of the year.
Emeritus professor of ethnomusicology at Brown University; Fellow of the American Folklore Society; part-time resident of Maine. Several of my scholarly essays may be found at https://brown.academia.edu/JeffToddTiton