We are digging out this morning after another big storm (that is my husband is digging out...) and it will not be a good trail walking day. Yesterday, I took advantage of a lull between weather systems and went to the Huron Natural Area which is right in the city only a couple of minutes from our home. I had seen fresh evidence of a Pileated Woodpecker a month ago and posted this picture. It has been difficult to get back to the area since then.
The trails were very icy as we had a day of rain on Monday and then a flash freeze. I do love my Yaktraks! Once again, the woods were very, very quiet without even the cheerful song of the Chickadee. The trees creaked in the cold wind but I could hear no woodpeckers at work.
There were plenty of fresh holes and I saw these wood chips below a tall deciduous tree. These were created very recently. I heard a strange sound ahead, one that I did not recognize. Perhaps there was a quail or wild turkey in the distance. Following the noise led me right to a very busy, very loud Pileated Woodpecker. This Cornell University link has a good example of the call. The wood was so soft in the large holes where the bird was working that there was no hammering sound at all.
The tree was half way up an icy hill and I couldn't get as close as I would have liked to, but the bird worked away for the next thirty minutes until I was thoroughly chilled.
It really does remind me of a prehistoric creature.
Another new bird for my list during this endless winter. Some people are lucky enough to have these birds come to them at feeding stations. We have to work a little harder to see birds here in the north but this icy walk was well worth the effort!