I couldn't believe my eyes. Flashes of black, white and red. Out of the blue, two birds--big ones- flew by the window, back and forth, before literally disappearing into a hole close to the top of a huge, old poplar tree.
For the record, it was a winter day, January 30, 2012 .
Well, okay. Other than that it was pretty ordinary. Here at Incoming Bytes every time we turned around and blinked, it was still white and winter. Even with wishful thinking, winter seems to be dragging, it hasn't warmed up much. Not that I'm complaining. My pretty boss reminds me 'we live in Canada", winks and hands me hot coffee.
I guess sometimes good things happen on winter days too. The sun eventually shines. Snow slides off the slippery steel roof with a roar. Faces of snowmen melt and other interesting, amazing things take place. Sit in a snow bank and watch snow fleas or deer, your choice. The two pups run around like there's no tomorrow, sniffing at everything cool. That's because everything is cool.
But the woodpeckers showing up, that was a genuine happening even if it was a typically brutal -24C winter morning. It turned around and snowed for a bit --nothing serious, maybe a couple of centimeters --oh, let's just say a cool inch for Imperial old-timers. Around here it typically tends to mild up a bit when it starts snowing. For the
No matter. Oops, back to business. Guess what. The birds spotted were Pileated Woodpeckers! They seem to be way too early this year. Early birds. A nesting pair yet.
If you know anything about Pileated Woodpeckers, they are majestic birds, about 17" tall, the biggest woodpecker species that inhabits northern climes. Dryocopus pileatus.
They nest in holes that would make carpenters equipped with 40' ladders, a lot of nerve and sharp chisels jealous. The holes are hacked into the heartwood of trees with the entrances 40' or more above the ground. The unusual rising and falling cuk-cuk-cuk-cuk-cuk-cuk song and their bright red crests and black and white markings give them away pretty quickly.
They don't tend to fly through the air straight either, they have their own Pileated up-down wavy flight method. It works. Most of the time.
|Reviving an immature Pileated Woodpecker|
A young Pileated woodpecker hit the solid brick wall of the house a couple of years ago and was knocked unconscious. I happened to hear the 'thunk' and got to the big bird before the pups found it.
After a bit of treatment he revived quickly with a shake of his head. Survival mode kicked in with the gag complex when a few drops of water was placed on his barely-open beak
That trick seems to work for an unconscious bird. As you can see he shook his head, spraying water everywhere. He looked around like he was stunned, after we chatted for a bit and underwent a thorough pre-flight wing check, perhaps a couple of minutes, he flew off without any apparent damage. Every bird should be so lucky.
Perhaps we should all be so lucky in life. Even too early in January. Cuk-cuk-cuk-cuk-cuk-cuk...
Is that incoming I hear?