pileated woodpecker

Crystal clear and quiet, except for the methodical hammer-blows of a pileated woodpecker performing surgery on a tree afflicted with ants.

Pileated woodpeckers fly back and forth cackling, their wings black and white as newsprint amid the cathedral-window colors of the leaves.

Another cool and cloudless morning. The hollow echoes with the croaks of ravens. A pileated woodpecker taps on the side of my house.

Have the flickers fledged? Their den hole gapes, silent. Is absence of evidence evidence of absence? A pileated woodpecker’s wild laughter.

Snowstorm. Two male cardinals meet on a white branch and stare at each other. A third red crest flashes in the woods: pileated woodpecker.

From down-hollow, a pileated woodpecker comes yelling straight over the house, lands and falls silent, joining its mate to forage for grubs.

A pause in the sleet. It’s plenty cold enough for snow, but all we get is this glassy grit. A pileated woodpecker whinnies up on the ridge.

The sun slowly dims in the whitening sky. Soft taps of a woodpecker. The flashing orange light on the roof of the meter reader’s truck.

A pileated woodpecker foraging near the ground suddenly flees yelling into the treetops. Several nearby juncos take off too, just in case.

A week of sub-freezing temperatures and I’d almost forgotten the smell of the earth. A pileated woodpecker opens its black-and-white wings.

The wind has stripped the treetops of most remaining leaves, flooding them with light. I watch the sine-wave flight of a far-off woodpecker.

Overcast and still. The hollow thumps of a pileated woodpecker foraging for breakfast. Walnuts fall on the back roof with an alarming crash.