January 31, 2024: Knock Knock Knock On Wood!

Knock knock knock on wood! The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker and one of the largest forest birds in North America. This gorgeous punk rock male is foraging for insects in the alive but deteriorating wood of an oak tree near the North nest. He and his mate have probably begun courtship, although she won’t lay eggs until late April or early May.

Is this hole an eventual nesting cavity or the result of foraging? The tree is a little small and the limb is at a very odd angle for a nesting cavity. Pileated nesting cavities also tend to be rounded or triangular, not the long rectangles that Pileated Woodpeckers create as they forage. But other creatures might find and use the hole for nesting or roosting if it is large enough, including American Kestrels, European Starlings, small woodpeckers and owls like the Northern Saw-whet, Eastern Bluebirds, titmice, White-breasted Nuthatches, tree swallows, swifts, and bats. Pileated Woodpeckers are jaw-droppingly beautiful AND useful neighbors!