Woody Woodpecker is in my top 5 for all time favorite cartoons. I didn’t know it at the time, but he is modeled after a real woodpecker – the Pileated Woodpecker. They are HUGE (almost the size of a crow), they are beautiful, and they are destructive. They are known for their size and the brilliant red tuft of hair that stands up on their head. They have a very distinctive drumming noise – one that once you hear you never will forget. They have an unmistakable flight pattern and can be heard near and far. (You can become acquainted with their noises on the All About Birds website.) They make rectangular shaped holes in trees and eat carpenter ants and other insects living in the tree. This picture is one that was in rehab at Wildbird Recovery over the past summer probably after a collision with a car. Look how beautiful she is. Look a the beak – the destruction that it can give is like no other.
I was walking in the woods a few weeks ago and came across a very weird-looking dead tree. I have never seen this beofre! It was shredded and pieces of bark and wood were thrown on the forest floor. With the massive amounts of damage, it could only be one thing. The Pileated.
I will admit that there was a piece of me that was glad that he was picking on the dead tree and not the side of my house. I can’t imagine the damage he would have done to my siding, both aesthetically and financially! We have have enough woodpecker issues, you can read about the fiasco with a downy woodpecker here. We still haven’t recovered!
Here is a photo of the amazing head feathers of the one that was in rehab – something you will probably never see! Just beautiful.
Thanks to my friend Beth, first of all for all of her amazing work and dedication to help local birds in need, for being so passionate about nature and environmental causes (her entire life) and for letting me share the woodpecker photos!