Woodpeckers Come in Threes

On Saturday, I went out for a walk around the slough across the road from our house. The weather was fairly cold -15 C (5F), but luckily there was no wind so it was quite a pleasant walk. Even thought it’s still the beginning of November, winter has set in on the Canadian prairies; the sloughs are covered with ice, snow has blanketed the ground, and most animals have migrated to warmer places or are hibernating. On my two and a half hour walk, I saw only seven bird species: Downy Woodpecker, Black-billed Magpie, Black-capped Chickadee, Common Raven, Pileated Woodpecker, and Hairy Woodpecker.

This is the first walk  I’ve taken where I saw all three species of woodpeckers occuring in our area. I was able to get fairly good photos of the Downy and Hairy, but not the Pileated! It flew away before I could take a photograph. The Pileated Woodpecker could be considered a nemesis bird for me because I’ve never been able to get a photo of one. Hopefully on my next walk I’ll see another one and finally get a photo.

Some photos from my walk:

A view of the slough and woods,


This Downy Woodpecker was tapping away on some cattails,



I found this Meadow Vole hiding in the snow,


A young Whitetail buck jumping over the silt fencing that was put up to keep amphibians away from the pipeline activity in the summer,


Snow covered woods,


A male Hairy Woodpecker flew into the same bunch of trees just as the Pileated flew off,



7 thoughts on “Woodpeckers Come in Threes

  1. What a wonderful walk Charlotte – and how neat to see photos of your area as well. Great shot of the deer which are very hard to photograph I find as they get out of the way so fast. And wonderful of the birds and vole. Well done. A rewarding day indeed.

  2. Very nice photos of the Downy and Hairy woodpecker! I have had some success photographing Pileated Woodpeckers, when they come to our feeders (that’s not often).

  3. Interesting shot of the Downy on the cattail. A cattail marsh is not a place I associate with woodpeckers, but I often encounter Downy’s feeding on the cattails and willows in our cattail marshes here. Stay with it, Charlotte. You’ll get your Pileated photo eventually!

  4. That’s interesting: when I was in North America. I frequently encountered Hairies that seemed to follow Pileateds, just like your observation. I have yet to read about a possible explanation…

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