The largest and most easily recognized woodpecker in North America is the Pileated Woodpecker. If you have ever wondered what the adjective pileated means, it simply means “capped,” or, in ornithological terms, having a crest of feathers from the beak to the nape of the neck. The word comes from an ancient conical hat from the Mediterranean region known as a pileum.
While humans tend to complain when a woodpecker decides to pursue dinner in their cedar house siding, other creatures don’t. The holes woodpeckers drill in pursuit of ants—be it in trees, telephone poles, or wherever—are in high demand by other creatures. Smaller woodpeckers, wrens, and other small birds will follow along and clean up whatever insects the Pileated woodpeckers missed. When it comes to their rectangular nesting cavities, the woodpeckers will sometimes allow small bats and chimney swifts to share the hole with them. And after they’ve moved out—as they rarely use the same cavity twice—the old nesting sites become prime real estate for screech owls, bluebirds, wood ducks, raccoons, and other critters.
Do you like the larger-than-life Pileated Woodpecker? Purchase a card with him here!
Minnesota Birds Collection$16.00