Friday, October 2, 2009

Pileated Woodpeckers

Today a pair of pileated woodpeckers landed on our cabbage palm; their arrival a breathtaking flash of blink-bright red and black.

Observing their skinny necks and hammer-shaped heads made me think of another time and place, when prehistoric birds of Jurassic Park proportions roamed the earth; ancestors perhaps?

The large 18” birds circled the tree, hammering the shaggy palm bark with heavy silver bills in search of insects and grubs. Both birds used their long black tail feathers for balance, leaning on them like old rocking chairs. Suddenly, one of the pair fluttered to the upper palm fronds exposing white underwing linings, a striking contrast against the black flight feathers.

Some day I will definitely paint the pileated woodpecker.