Just the back yard!? Nah, I want the front and side yards landscaped in natives too.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Honking Surprise

I was about to get into the car (on my way to collect more leaves--more on that later), when I heard an unfamiliar bird call.   The word that comes to mind to describe it is almost a honk...a nasally honk?  So, I look up, and I'm shocked to see what I believe was a pileated woodpecker!  Up until now I think I've only spotted one once, while I was walking in the woods in State College--this is a first for our yard!  I'm happy to document an increase in biodiversity!

The beautiful bird was attracted to the berries of the flowering dogwood--all of the dogwoods I know have flowers, but this one the most spectacular--Cornus florida.  I attempted to take a photo of it with my cellphone...which is not even worth posting here.  I partially closed the car door, walked slowly around the car, and the long way around to the front door.  Upon noticing me, it flew off to a nearby tree.  Grabbing the camera, I searched the surrounding area for it, but it had flown off, so I began my post, camera close at hand.  Sure enough, I heard the now familiar call, went to the window and tried to focus on my surprise visitor...only to be shocked that the call of a blue jay scared it off!  Still hopeful, I returned to continue to compose this post.  Luckily for me, it returned again--I guess those berries are as tempting as they are nutritious (from what I've read--and nutritious to birds, NOT humans!).  This time, I was able to get a picture to document my sighting...and now, with no more ado, I'll share it with you:

...Now, I did close the car door halfway through composing this, so I'm hoping I didn't drain the battery and can head out for more of those bags of leaves (which I've yet to post about).


Rebecca said...

Congratulations, David! and congratulations on getting a picture!
We've only seen a pileated in our yard once,but they do nest in the nearby wildlife refuge, so we're hoping for more.

Ellen Honeycutt said...

I had no idea that they ate those berries. What an exciting discovery!

David said...

Thanks, ladies. :)

Rebecca, I hope you get to see them more often...good to know they are close by.


I had no idea either...that is just one more benefit of creating a natural habit that I can watch more closely...and learn so much from. :)