Pileated woodpeckers have been hard at work on this log. They chip away at deadwood in search of beetles, grubs, and carpenter ants. It is quite a sight to see them pounding away, flinging large pieces of wood to the side as they work. They are impressive birds, crow-sized with a crazy red crest.
Come March, they will be busy excavating a nesting cavity in either a dead or live tree. They tend to build from 10 to 75 feet above ground. Eggs will be laid in mid-April and hatch after incubating for about 18 days.
I tried to sneak up on a pair of pileateds one day last week. It was another of those cases of my photo subject cooperating -- up until the time I pressed the button. To make matters worse, I could swear they were laughing at me as they flew away...wuck-a-wuck-a-wuck-a