This story tracks the life of a young Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus family living in a Beech-Maple forest of Southern Ontario.
Recalling the brood, first observed in late May 2016, there were always only two nestlings peering out of the tree. Early on, I saw the mother fly away with something quite large and round in her bill. Was it perhaps a nestling who did not make it? In contrast to this, on June 12th, while the two were quite content to remain where they were, I heard a strong and clear, yet slightly weaker, version of the parents’ call, coming from somewhere close to the nest. Following the sound, about 15 feet off the ground I discovered a little one clinging to an adjacent tree. Had this one fallen out prematurely, or was she stronger, with an accelerated development? The next day I observed her high up in a different tree not far from the first. Could she fly?
This painting portrays the fledgling that I observed clinging to a tree trunk near the nest on June 12, 2016. In between vigorous calls of “cuk-cuk-cuk-cuk-cuk”, she would groom and stretch out her wings. The parents would answer her calls, then, arrive with sustenance.
The completion of “Fledgling” was interrupted.
For continuity of the story I am publishing this journal entry.
Upon completion, the painting will be added in HERE.
My husband and I, with SLR paraphernalia in hand, made several visits to the nest throughout the development of the 2016 woodpecker family. With their feathers breaking sheath around June 15th, it wasn’t long before all of the nestlings had left the nesting cavity. By the end of the month I didn’t catch sight of them again, but right up until the later part of July, I would hear a commotion of Pileated sound in the vicinity.
The present-day account, "Fledglings":
I stopped in to check on the nestlings a couple of mornings this week. Without sight or sound, I have come to the conclusion that they have fledged. Having anticipated their departure between June 26th and 28th, it seems they have left 2-6 days earlier than expected.
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If you would like to learn more about
Pileated Woodpecker nesting behaviour
in Eastern North America,
check out nature photographer,
Pamela Dimeler’s You Tube channel.