Woody in Flow

Yesterday, the snow fell. So today, in the glorious sunshine, and before the white stuff gave way to mud and mush, I went out for a long walk in a neighborhood that borders a bird sanctuary.

An unfamiliar drumming or thrumming sound, as loud as a passing airplane above, suddenly caught my attention. I spun around, glanced up and saw a most spectacular sight. Not more than 10 feet away, an unusually tall woodpecker was hammering away at a pock-marked tree, utterly oblivious to my presence.

Redheaded Woody

‘Twas none other than the red headed pileated woodpecher, aka Dryocopus pileatus.

Only when I returned home, and read up about this gorgeous red-plumed, mustache-od bird, did I realize it was the mating call of the male pileated woodpecker that I’d heard. No wonder he paid no heed to me, and didn’t fly off when I paused for many minutes to observe. It wasn’t me that he was serenading… he was cruising for his mate!

Fortunately, I had time to dash back to the car, where I’d left my camera, return to the tree and see him still hard at work.

It was mesmerizing to watch him in action; he was so deeply immersed in flow, in striving for exactly what he wanted, pounding away at the wood with such clarity of purpose. Nothing was gonna stop him. So joyful (and funny!) to behold.

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