Lord of the Woods

Wood Kate. Indian Hen. Logcock. Or if you prefer, the drier, academic and more commonly used Pileated Woodpecker.

I realized as I was writing this that after using the word for at least 35 years—my Grandpa called them Indian Hens and I’m not sure I heard them called anything else until I was a teenager—I didn’t know what “pileated” means. Honestly, I not sure I’d ever even thought about it, but according to Merriam-Webster the definition of pileated is “having a crest covering the pileum,” which in turn is just a fancy way of referring to the top of a bird’s head. “Pileated,” by the way, can be pronounced either “PIE-leated” or “PILL-eated”—either is acceptable.

I ran into this pair on the back side of our property while looking for migrating warblers. The red moustache marks the one in front as the male. I believe he has a larger crest too, but they’re holding their heads at different angles making it hard to compare accurately. They were quite upset and I imagine I had to be close to their nest, though I wasn’t able to locate it.

They were so agitated that I only stayed a few minutes before leaving them to their business. I’d really like some “feeding the nestling” photos, so I may have to go back and take another look. Maybe they won’t be so irate next time.

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