Woodpecker family (Picidae)
Our largest woodpecker, 15” long. Mostly black with a bright red crest. In flight – white on linings of underwings visible. Long and broad bill with a chisel-like tip.
Cavity nester. Requires large dead trees for excavating nest and roost cavities. Excavates a new nest cavity each year; does not re-use old nest cavities. Eggs are white. Clutch size – 4 eggs. Nestlings fledge about 4 weeks after hatching.
Loud series of “cuk” notes, “cuk cuk cuk cuk”. Similar to Northern Flicker but Pileated’s notes are louder and vary in pitch, almost having a ringing or echoing nature through the woods.
Dryocopus: drys, Greek for “tree”; kopis, Greek for “dagger”; pileatus, Latin for “capped”.
In the Nature Park:
Year-round resident. Regularly seen in the deep woods at the Nature Park. Several nests have been reported, including one along the Creekside Trail. As the nestlings age, you can see them sticking their heads out of the nest cavity as they beg and wait for the parents to return with food – the nestlings look like miniature versions of Pileated Woodpeckers.