If you hear a loud hammering sound in the woods, you may be listening to a Pileated Woodpecker. It’s one of the largest woodpecker species in North America.
Since moving to Washington state, one of my favorite things to do here is to keep an eye out for wildlife. In San Diego we’d see dolphins, coyotes, and hawks but in Washington I’m seeing an abundance of eagles, especially lately. But for some reason, these pileated woodpeckers are one of my favorite treats to see.
This photo was taken by my daughter as we watched him jump from tree to tree in our front yard forest. His pounding can be heard throughout the neighborhood and it’s mind boggling how he can hit the wood so hard with his face.
These woodpeckers drum to attract mates and to establish the boundaries of their territory—warning other males away.
The pileated woodpecker’s body is 16 to 19 inches long. Its wingspan is 26 to 30 inches wide. It weighs between 8.8 and 12.3 ounces. It looks as big as a large parrot on the side of the tree.
What a wonderful planet this is.