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We ‘Boomers’ remember the ole Walter Lanz Saturday cartoons featuring that raucous (and annoying) red-headed woodpecker. AND I saw Woody earlier in the week pecking on the big ole downed virgin pine that the intrepid Donny Averitt felled for me last Summer. Actually this bird was a Pileated Woodpecker that dwells in our North American forests and exclusively eats insects in & under tree bark. They especially like to de-bark a dead or dying tree and eat the bugs they find. In fact, this one that I saw was de-barking the big pine log that Donny had felled and I watched him for about an hour on and off as he chipped and hammered away at the bark on about half of that log. Drive by my house on Laura St. in Mansfield, La. and you can see that for yourself. It was an inspiring site because he was so big and I sure hope he comes back to finish the job so I can see him again!

I’ve also spotted the little Downy Woodpeckers, the Red-Bellied Woodpeckers and the beautiful Red-Headed Woodpeckers in my yard. Several of these types have been sampling the suet block I have hanging in the back yard. However, this large Pileated was the most awesome yet. Of course, I did a little research for you before starting this column and I found out that the bird is named after the little red cap on the top of his head – Pileatus is Latin for “Capped” which is pretty cool. I guess if his discoverer had been French he would be “Berreted”? I found out that in Native American folklore these large forest dwelling and nesting birds are protectors and guardians of mankind.

 

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