Friday, January 21, 2011

Lord of the Woodies

The large and spectacular Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) is the second-largest woodpecker in North America, second only to the Imperial Woodpecker (C. imperialis) of montane western Mexico. (I am not counting the probably extinct Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) of the southeastern United States.) When it flies in with its 70-75cm wingspan it is a startling sight indeed. It is common, though not numerous, in the forested corridors of the central Canadian prairies (among many other regions of Canada and the US) and a regular sight in the city of Edmonton, including the campus of the University of Alberta, where I work.

Yesterday this spectacular male (distinguished by the red bar under his chin) came swooping into the Arts quad and starting working on a pine tree. I had to rush to get my camera from my office. When I returned he came towards me and landed on a tree so close by that I had too much lens to get the entire bird into the picture.

Male Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)


  1. That's a great shot. What camera/lens combo do you carry with you to work? I do the same thing as you never know what you'll see right? Anyway, I've been checking in on your blog and you're doing quite well. Keep it up.


  2. Thanks, Chris. My normal carry around rig is a Nikon D300 and a 300mm f2.8. I have a 500mm f4 but this requires a tripod so I take it only when I will set up a sit and wait scenario.