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Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

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No Pounding Headache

The Pileated Woodpecker makes loud, hard whacks, as it leans back and then slams its bill into the side of a living tree. Sounds painful, if not downright disabling! How does the woodpecker's brain withstand it? All woodpeckers have an enlarged brain case, so the brain sits above the level of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Drumming with Woodpeckers - West

Early spring in the West resounds with the percussive hammering of woodpeckers. Their rhythmic drumming functions as other birds' songs do, to broadcast over a long distance a clear statement of territory and mating rights. Learn about this Pileated Woodpecker and the others in this show - the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, sound

Woodpecker Wonderland

When it comes to woodpeckers, nature has been very generous to the Northwest. Some areas, like the Okanogan region in north-central Washington, host among the highest diversities of woodpecker species anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. You may spot the diminutive Downy Woodpecker or the... read more »

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Drumming with Woodpeckers - East

Early spring in the East resounds with the percussive hammering of woodpeckers. Their rhythmic drumming functions as other birds' songs do, to broadcast over a long distance a clear statement of territory and mating rights. Learn about this Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and the others in this show -... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, sound

Pileated Applepeckers

It's autumn, and apples have begun to fall, although many remain on the trees. In full view of its offspring, an adult Pileated Woodpecker stabs a tasty apple treat. After it feeds, it flies to a nearby tree. Alone now, the youngster repeats what it's seen, knocking apples to the ground until it... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Nurturing a Love of Birds

We're looking for teachers who use BirdNote in the classroom. Share your lesson plan or find one to use. Learn more. Then submit your own plan.In classrooms around the country, teachers who love birds and nature are introducing children to a source of life-long enjoyment. Emily Czerwonka, a... read more »

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Woodpeckers Carve Out Roost Cavities, Too

In spring, we often hear woodpeckers hard at work, carving out nest holes in tree trunks. And now that fall has arrived, we may hear that excavating sound again. Some woodpecker species stay year round in the region where they nest, while others migrate south in winter. Those that remain, like... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology, nesting

Shifts in Habitat = Shifts in Species

We asked David Sibley, creator and illustrator of The Sibley Guide to Birds, how changes in the environment are affecting birds such as this Brown Thrasher. He says, “A shift of habitat has caused a shift in the species” he's observed in the Northeastern US. For example, Wild Turkeys, Pileated... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  environmental champion

There's More Than One Way to Climb a Tree

No bird is better adapted for climbing up a tree trunk than a woodpecker. The foot of this Pileated Woodpecker is ideal for clinging, and its relatively short legs allow it to anchor itself securely. When traveling upward, the woodpecker’s a master. But hitching down? Not so much — usually they... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Nictitating Membranes - Nature's Goggles

For most birds, keen eyesight is critical for survival. But many birds lead lives that can be very hard on the eyes — like flying at breakneck speed, racing for cover into a dense thicket, or diving under water to capture prey. Imagine how the chips fly as this Pileated Woodpecker chisels a... read more »

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Who Likes Suet?

Chickadees and titmice, nuthatches and jays, and woodpeckers, like the Pileated pictured here, all love suet. As do birds whose beaks can’t open seeds, like tiny kinglets, and almost any wintering warbler. The Brown Creeper, usually creeping up tree trunks, is a cool bird to discover at your suet... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, birdfeeding

What's Inside a Woodpecker's Nest Hole?

Many woodpeckers chisel out deep cavities in tree trunks in order to lay their eggs and raise their brood. The cavities hollowed out by the birds vary in size, depending on the species of woodpecker. Most North American woodpeckers carve a new nest cavity each spring.Support for BirdNote comes... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting
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