Range Tracking

The Red Mustache

Looking out the window one morning last week while sitting at my desk at the office I saw Pileated Woodpeckers foraging in the oak trees in the parking lot. Grabbing my camera I went out into the awful light of an overcast sky threatening rain and took a few photos of the birds. The immediate surprise was that there were four of them in a group so most likely a family of two adults with two of their offspring from this nesting season. Plus the two that I was able to get close to both had red mustaches, the so called feathers coming back away from the beak, indicating these are male Pileated Woodpeckers. In comparison, the female has a black mustache plus her red crest does not come all the way down her forehead like the male’s. The Pileated Woodpecker is one of my favorite birds. I am happy to see they are doing well at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area.
Dryocopus pileatus is the inspiration for Woody Woodpecker of cartoon fame – or maybe not. The story goes the animator used the Acorn Woodpecker as the basis for Woody, which Woody looks nothing like. Go figure.

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