Sunday, December 26, 2010

My special Christmas treat

I've been waiting years for this. I've wondered out loud many times, "What do I need to do to draw this bird in to my feeders?" I thought last week's appearance was a fluke not to be repeated. But early on Christmas morning, when the light was still weak, I heard an unmistakable sound. It barged right into the dream I was having and woke me up, encouraging me to peek out the window. Lo and behold, the Pileated had returned. I ran stealthily downstairs to grab the camera. It was a cloudy, gray morning, and I had to turn up settings on the camera to let in as much light as possible, which made for low-quality images, but identifiable images nonetheless, of a female Pileated Woodpecker... at MY feeders!


She's creeping around on the deck railing while I'm creeping around with my camera.


That's a lot of mass to hold up just by your feet!


One of the last images captured on Christmas Day. My Christmas Pileated!

What a treat! I finally got really good looks at her. And she skirted the property throughout the day. Is she here to stay?


Here's the diva as she appeared this morning, the day after Christmas.

I think I'm about to call her a regular. And I think I've figured out what has kept her kind away in the past: the dog. I haven't yet seen her on or around the feeders when the dog is out on the deck. Isn't it funny how such a huge bird, so much larger than most of the other birds who visit the feeders, could be afraid of a dog? She needs to take a lesson in bravery from the Carolina Wren who hops around right under the dog's box that's just outside the patio door - while the dog is in the box!




What's this?! Is there some homemade bird dough in here? Why yes, yes there is.


Is it me, or is she smiling? I was smiling too.

13 comments:

KaHolly said...

Oh, Heather, that is just awesome! Great captures, too. The Pileated are very aloof, secretive birds. I'm not surprised they prefer the dog not be in attendance. I've never heard of anyone having them come to their feeders. I'm so excited for you. Merry Christmas, indeed! ~karen

Jain said...

Fabulous pictures! And some angles I've never seen before! Congratulations!

Kelly said...

Wow!! Gorgeous...the perfect present. Looks like she's here to stay. I can't believe how close she is--right on your deck! Love the photo of her peering down through the tree, and the close-ups too...

Red said...

Great Christmas present for you! Great pictures under extenuating circustances.

NW Nature Nut said...

Wow, what a special treat! I hope she continues to be a regular. She looks so festive in her little red cap too!

hip-chick said...

What a lovely treat. I love that first big picture. Very nice.

Beyond My Garden said...

what a wonderful opportunity. I had no idea a pileated would come to a feeder. You've given me a new goal. My favorite picture is the one straight on of a belly view (the diva photo)
nellie

Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

Nice! OK, so what is the recipe for bird dough?

Gabrielle said...

Did you remember to breath when you saw this avian gift on your deck??? I think I would've been so excited that I wouldn't have been able to hold the camera still enough to get such great shots! I am SO envious. Congrats!

teresa stieben said...

love the pileated, she is a beauty. I had a special guest on christmas day as well, a downey woodpecker came to the tree outside my sitting-room window early morn as I was enjoying my first cup of coffee. I have a seed-feeder outside the window and get chickadees, finches and nuthatches on a regular basis. Some days a flicker shows up and pine siskins come when its -20 out.

Heather said...

Thanks for the nice comments, everyone.

@Warren and Lisa - I promise I will share the recipe in a post very soon!

@Teresa - Congratulations on your Downy Woodpecker. I bet if you tried putting up a suet feeder you would get woodpeckers on a more regular basis!

Judy said...

She is a beauty, all right! And you got some great shots!!

Julie Zickefoose said...

Unbridled green envy from someone who's been feeding birds since 1965 and has NEVER had a pileated come in. These are such spectacular photos.

I have a life sketch of a pileated in exactly that head-on look, bill up...amazing to see a photo of it. Your new layout is fantastic!