Slice of Life #18- Unicorn Birds

11454297503_e27946e4ff_h

I am a very amateur birder. I put up a bird feeder last year and it’s become a bit of an obsession.  This year I joined Project Feederwatch so that I can contribute citizen science data to the project.  I love watching the birds and I’ve logged some pretty cool species at home this year.

I also bring my camera on every hike I take with the dogs, and the hikes usually take place daily.  I log most of my hike sightings on eBird, another citizen science project that collects birding data.  The eBird data is also shared with the public so I can keep track of migrations and rare sightings.  I’ve seen some pretty cool birds on our hikes but I have one unicorn bird.

The pileated woodpecker.

I discovered a family of pileated woodpeckers at a nearby park last year.  They are huge and look like dinosaurs.  On top of this, they are loud. But when I checked eBird I noticed that pileated woodpeckers don’t usually live around here.  They used to, but humans pushed them out with habitat loss.  At that point I assumed I was wrong, that I either misidentified the birds (that were very high in the trees) or the birds were just passing through.

But then I saw and heard them again.  And again.  And again. It was soon normal for me to hear them or see them 3-4 times each week.  At that point I became determined to get photographic evidence.

Not an easy task when the birds are usually 90+ feet in the canopy of the trees.

I got one photo like this.

12698525_694252146779_3257073449832821466_o

 

 

A lot of photos even worse than this:

12646954_693472828539_5413928282877266754_n.jpg

Both of these are heavily edited.

And then this week I finally, finally saw the pileated woodpecker up close!  I still didn’t get a fantastic picture, but I got a pretty good one.  A birding achievement, for sure!

Version 2

2 Responses

  1. They are quite common around here. I see them every summer, but am still amazed every time!

  2. Wow! I love that last pic! I’ve been trying to get a pic of our hummingbirds, but so far unsuccessful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: