Subscribe to BirdNote

Sign up to receive a weekly email preview of the following week's shows!

Sign Up
Support BirdNote

Help BirdNote tell more stories, reach more people, and inspire action.


You are here

Pileated Woodpecker roosting holes

Photographer Gregg Thompson had a stroke of good fortune. He wrote:

In late September, I noticed a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers on this tree trunk. It was too late in the year for them to have any chicks, and after I read a bit, I decided this was a roosting tree. It could have been a nesting site at one time, I guess.

It seems to have been constructed in the rotted center core of an otherwise healthy looking tree. I would guess the lower hole is connected to the upper one. The female was using the upper hole.

Looking at the forest around them, I can see that they have quite a few opportunities for roosting cavities. But for my purpose – photography – most of them were pretty high up in the tree. This site has the benefit of being right at my height on a steep hillside. It is really dark with all of the foliage still being on the trees.

Anyway, I went quite a few times, hoping to catch them in their roosting holes. So far, I've seen only one at a time in a hole, so I'm not sure if they both use the same hole, different holes, or even different holes on separate trees. I think they have multiple roosting trees, as they don't seem to use the same holes every night.


The Red-headed Woodpecker excavates cavities, too. Learn more about this bird and about how leaving a snag benefits birds and other wildlife:
Saving Snags for Red-headed Woodpeckers

Sights & Sounds

Related topics: