Sometimes, the birds come to us

You can tramp for an hour through the woods and fail to find a bird to photograph, and sometimes all you have to do is look up from the kitchen table to find something magnificent paying you a call.

The latter happened yesterday as my wife and I sat down to lunch. I was one or two bites into my ham salad sandwich when my wife blurted out, “Hey, it’s the big one!”

The “big one” was a pileated woodpecker, chipping away at one the maple trees at the back edge of our property line. Our back yard is wide, not deep, so the bird was only about 75 feet away.

I grabbed my camera and shot a few frames out the dining room window. As quietly as I could, I slipped out the back door to shoot some more.

The best of my first few shots.

The bird suddenly dove toward the ground, then flew over to a cluster of trees at the back corner of the lot. I took a few more photos, then came back inside to get ready to head out for the afternoon.

As I was gathering my things, the woodpecker was still banging away in the tree cluster. I couldn’t resist taking a few more shots. As my wife noted, at that point, the bird was facing toward us, and the sunlight was favorable.

Any visit by a pileated woodpecker is a cause for elation. It may be hard to believe, but we’ve seen many more bald eagles fly over and around our home than pileated woodpeckers. By my recollection, this was only the third time a pileated has visited, while we’ve seen bald eagles here at least a dozen times.

We welcome all avian visitors to our property, with one exception. Canada geese come by the hundreds to the golf course that our property adjoins. Should any one of them cross the line into our yard, my wife brings out her bullhorn and orders them to back off. I handle the fertilizing of our yard.

The best of the second batch of shots.

Published by Dan

University media executive by day, blogger by night, I am a well-traveled resident of New Jersey

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