The Gleaner
Arts & LifePhotos of the Week

A week of woodpeckers and wind

PHOTO Lorelei Muller

Hubby and I planted native trees nearby last year, so we didn’t mind losing this Manitoba maple to wild woodpeckers and wind last week.

During Monday’s ramble I noticed a hole in the tree about three centimetres across. After discovering a second, larger cavity on Wednesday morning, I started watching the tree. I saw amale pileated woodpecker, about the size of an American crow and distinguishable from the female by the red bar on his cheek, spend hours hammering with his strong beak.

I was amazed by his progress. He was concerned by my presence and showed it by flaring his red crest.

After the wild winds of Wednesday night, we awoke to a broken branch and sunlight streaming through the open tree trunk. The pileated woodpecker uses its stiff tail feathers to stabilize its body as it pecks away, and this one took advantage of the exposed wood to find access to morebugs, which he pulled out with his long tongue.

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