The Feeder Feed: SURPRISE!

First, I would like to give you your second cardinal photo of the day.  This is a new visitor, coming several times a day now.  He has a bit of molt action going on.  I’ve heard him singing up a storm nearby.  Hopefully he’ll find a missus and settle down right here.

But then, as I was writing something I will be posting later, I caught something out of the corner of my eye.

This is Mr. Pileated Woodpecker.  He is the size of a small Pterodactyl.

Behold Dryocopus pileatus.

This is about ten feet away from me at my desk.

SLOWLY I reach for the camera and start shooting.  I also used a flash and that is how I got this one.

That suet cake was paid for by your donations.  As a matter of fact the only way they eat is by your donations.

THANKS DONORS for this heart-attack!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. AnAmericanMother says:

    A handsome fellow (he is a fellow on account of the red moustache).
    They are quite common in the Southeast, much rarer in your area. We have a pair in our back yard, but they only come to the feeder when they can’t find anything else to eat!

  2. Centristian says:

    “First, I would like to give you your second cardinal photo of the day. This is a new visitor, coming several times a day now. He has a bit of molt action going on. I’ve heard him singing up a storm nearby. Hopefully he’ll find a missus and settle down right here.”

    Last person in the world I would have expected to advocate married cardinals. ;^)

  3. Jenny says:

    We have a Pileated Woodpecker that lives out in the woods behind our house. We only see him a handful of times during the year, but we hear him all the time.

  4. teomatteo says:

    The pileated is racous but what is more, they really can tear apart a tree.

  5. dans0622 says:

    Nice photos. I’ve seen such a bird only a few times in my life–when I was living in northwest Wisconsin. “Now that’s a woodpecker!” was probably my first thought when seeing it the first time.

  6. lizaanne says:

    He is beautiful!! And HUGE!!! That would have given me a stroke to be sure.

    Last Fall I had a spent and dying impatiens plant hanging on a hook outside my office window, and nearly fell out of my chair when humming birds starting coming to the last two blooms on this old withered plant. Tiny little dudes, but I’ve never seen them around my house so it was a huge surprise!! This year I’m planting more humming bird friendly flowers to see if they will come back.

    Love your cardinal photos – gorgeous!!!

  7. dans: They actually have a huge range , most of the Eastern US all the way down to the Gulf Coast.

    The one I would like to see, but probably won’t, is the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker.

  8. PeterK says:

    Pileated Woodpeckers are about the size of a crow and their call is awesome. I’ve not been able to lure one to my feeder but I do have other woodpeckers show up

    Let me share this one that I captured yesterday. pure simple luck

  9. teomatteo says:

    Father, have you captured (with your camera) any Shrikes?

  10. irishgirl says:

    Wow, neat bird pics, Father Z! Especially the woodpecker close up! Very cool!
    ‘Married cardinals’-very funny, Centristian!

  11. wanda says:

    Wonderful pictures. Oh, what a great looking bird is the woodpecker. If I were as close as 10 feet. I would probably duck and cover my head. He is amazing, I’ve never seen one up close. Thank you for the special treat today.

  12. wanda says:

    I forgot, Lizaanne, be sure to try a ‘Gardenmeister’ plant. It is a member of the fuschia family and Hummers just love it. The flowers are bright red, tubular in shape. It was suggested to me 4 or 5 years ago at a garden center as a sure-fire favorite of Hummers. It can grow in the ground or up higher in a hanging pot. I buy one every year and hang it on a shepherd’s hook with a nectar feeder nearby. The Hummers go to the plant as much as they do the nectar.

  13. Tina in Ashburn says:

    WOW! what a bird! what a shot!

  14. bernadette says:

    I have a couple of those woodpeckers in my woods. I wish they would stay there instead of eating my house. I am going to have to replace some of my siding so they can go for it again!

  15. Ellen says:

    I often hike at Mammoth Cave. One day I was ambling along a trail when I head a loud knocking. There was a pileated woodpecker sitting on a small log on the trail and he was making the chips fly! Seriously – he was causing a cascade of wood chips by the log. I think he was trying to get to the grubs in the wood. He was HUGE!!

    We also have a lot of cardinals here – I love them – they are so pretty.

  16. dans0622 says:

    You’re right, Father. But, I haven’t had the pleasure of living in a rural setting except in Wisconsin…:( I don’t think these birds like the city. ??

  17. fieldsparrow says:

    Thank you for sharing these photos, Father. I have only seen one bird so far this year and am still trying to identify it (thanks to the iBird app) but I heard them singing this morning on my way to Mass. For many reasons, birds remind me of the grace of God. Thank you again for sharing.

  18. Random Friar says:

    Easy-peasey Suet:

    1 c. peanut butter (“chunky” is better!)
    1 c. shortening
    1 c. flour
    3-4 c. corn meal (~one small container)

    Mix all together. Stick in a big Ziplock-type bag, and force it into roughly the thickness of your feeder (~1″). Stick in freezer. Cut a chunk with most any knife when needed. You can add seeds/nut chips if you wish. Woodpeckers also like insects, so if you are brave enough…

  19. pfreddys says:

    It’s WOODY!!!! It really is…I’d recognize him anywhere. Get ready for some hijinks coming your way Father!!! Ha-ha-ha-HAH-ha!

  20. chironomo says:

    This big guy is a frequent visitor to our trees here in South Florida… and yes they can get quite big. They are often mistaken by over-zealous watchers for the Ivory Billed Woodpecker… thought to be extinct but of which several examples have been spotted here and in Arkansas.

    They particularly like the Australian Pines which are so common down here… probably because they are a softer wood… all that banging has to hurt after a while.

  21. wanda says:

    Random Friar, Thank you for that recipe, I am going to try that. I’m not brave enough to add insects, I’m pretty sure, unless we get over-run with stink bugs again! They would make good additions, I’ll bet, just like raisins!

  22. mibethda says:

    chironomo, have you ever attempted to chop down or cut up the trunk of an Australian pine? There is a reason that one of the common names of the tree is ironwood. It is doubtful that the woodpeckers would turn to the wood of such a tree for respite. Perhaps the birds are feasting on grubs or insects below the bark layer.

  23. Patti Day says:

    PeterK, DH and I saw a red shouldered hawk on our deck post the other day. I almost fell out of my chair to see one so close. Numerous Slate Colored and Dark Eyed Junkos have made their home under the deck all winter, and I think the early morning feeder commotion brought him to investigate. I am longing to hear the Meadow Larks, but am pretty sure I heard an Indigo Bunting yesterday..

  24. chironomo says:


    Actually just had one removed two days ago… don’t know about the nickname, but the woodpeckers love em…perhaps the bark is soft. I do know that they uproot immediately in high wind (which is why they have to be removed!), but wasn’t aware that they were particularly hard… at least this one wasn’t much of a challenge.

    One humorous story about the Pileated WP… there was one that apparently discovered that there were bugs inside the “globe” of one of the streetlights (which are made of bullet-resistant lexan), and tried several times to get them out in the usual way. The noise was astoundingly loud…. something like a jackhammer hitting a steel plate…he eventually gave up.

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