UMichBirders for Friday, September 24, 2010
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Subject: [birders] Recap of Pileated Woodpeck family - Batteese Lake
(N. Jackson co.)
From: "linda ar" <birdar101(AT)hotmail.com>
Date: 24 Sep 2010 9:12pm
Earlier this summer (May) I reported a pair of Pileated woodpeckers that
had begun nesting in one of my neighbors old dead willow trees. After
convincing him not to cut it down (which he was planning as a spring
clean-up project) I thought I would eventually be able to take some pretty
great pics of the family during fledgling, feeding etc.
Meanwhile I went to Costa Rica for two weeks and when I returned the
weather was pretty awful with rain and wind that lasted for weeks. I saw
the adults coming and going from the nest from time to time, probably
taking turns on the nest and feeding themselves and perhaps the fledgling.
The fledgling (I only saw one) was finally popping it's head out (July)
and was being fed by the parents. Again the weather was sketchy so I
waited to take the pictures. I figured they weren't going anywhere and I
wanted a nice sunny day. Finally we had a few good days and the fledgling
was coming out of the nest little by little. I was excited to be finally
able get the tripod set up and have a good sitting with the camera. But
that night we had a terrible storm. When I went the next day the tree had
broken off exactly where the nest had been. The neighbors and I sifted
through all the debris and found no sign of any of the birds.
We all kept a vigilant eye out for signs of any of the family. By this
time the neighbors knew the bird's call but neither of us heard or saw
anything. Until about three weeks ago. I was making my usual walk with my
dog further down the lake and heard two Pileated's calling to each other.
Then a few days later I heard them again and they were close enough to
follow into the woods. I saw them, just two of them.
I was so happy to know that at least two had survived. I wasn't able to
get a really good look at the markings so I'm not sure if these were the
two adults or one of the adults and the fledgling. In fact I was almost
sure it was probably the two adults (I didn't have much hope after that
storm) but now that I'm writing this I'm thinking more about the behavior
of the two. They were calling to each other and one would eventually join
the other in the same tree. They were close to each other (maybe 1 or 2
feet apart) but I couldn't tell how close they actually got to one another
or if one could have been feeding the other.
In any case two of the woodpeckers survived the loss of the nest. I have
heard them calling in and around the neighborhood and nearby woods (one
actually woke me up one morning) but have yet to see or hear all three
together at the same time.
I remain hopeful for the family and will continue to keep my eyes and ears
tuned in. But I should also mention I have known at least one P.W and
sometimes two in the nearby woods for at least four years year round.
This though was the only time that I knew for certain where their nest was
and was so excited to be able to watch a family unfold.
That's all I've got for now.
Batteese Lake, Munith MI
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