Meridian Star

Outdoors

October 19, 2012

Lessons in Bird Behavior

Seated on a high ladder stand, I was watching for a buck to visit a nearby scrape. My view of the hardwood slope was excellent and my hopes were high. I didn’t see the buck that hunt, but I had a memorable day on the stand. So many of our days afield, whether deer hunting, fishing, hiking or whatever reason draws us outdoors, the unexpected sights and experiences often turn out to be the highlights.

    On this day I was enjoying the anticipation and the silence when a pileated woodpecker flashed by and grabbed hold of a slender poplar tree that was only a dozen feet away and at eye level with me as I sat still and well camouflaged. I got set to do some eavesdropping at close range.

    The colorful bird with the red “Woody Woodpecker” crest turned his head from side to side a couple of times and adjusted his position, toe nails gripping the tree’s trunk with aplomb that I will never understand. He then punched an internal button and his head became a jackhammer with deliberate, powerful strokes

Smart Bird

    As soon as his purposeful pecking stopped the woodpecker did something I have never seen a woodpecker do. He thrust his head forward, extending it sideways with his lengthy neck. His head was turned so that he placed his ear beside the spot where he had just hammered! The bird was listening for movement of any bug he might have disturbed with his drilling!

    I was astonished. Before I could consider the sight, the cunning bird moved up the tree trunk a few inches and resumed his strong hammering once more, immediately following the forceful tapping with the “ear to the ground” routine. He listened patiently for several seconds for any squirming morsel beneath the bark. Hearing none he moved yet again and repeated the sequence. After detecting no creeping larvae, the resourceful fowl flew away to another tree out of my sight, I presume to continue his sledge hammer and listen procedure. I didn’t know woodpeckers did that! Do they all? I don’t know. But I got to observe at least one that does.

Text Only
Outdoors
Biz Marquee
New Today
Poll

Do you think it is inhumane to euthanize a dog with a pellet gun?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide