Postcard ~ From the Garden

Can you see it?

You'll usually hear them before you see them. By following the knocking sounds that will direct you to the general direction of where they can be found; the bright red head makes them easier to spot.

My house is located on a heavily wooded property, mostly mature Douglas Firs, Madrones, Scrub Oaks, Birch, Sugar Pines, Ponderosa Pines, as well as several very old, huge Oak trees..

Of the old oaks, the huge, gnarly one pictured above definitely has the most 'character' of all the oaks on the property. Like the others it is home and food host to squirrels, birds, bees, other insects, lizards as well as various lichens and mossy growths.

There is evidence that it has survived strikes by lightning many years ago. That it (or at least 80 percent of it) leafs out faithfully each spring in spite of its condition, providing welcome shade all summer makes me love it all the more.

Families of Pileated Woodpeckers inhabit the property as well, raising their young and hunting for ants and such in the trunks of the old oaks and in the old fallen trees on the forest floor.

Pileated Woodpeckers are the largest of woodpeckers; approximately the size of crows; about 16 to 19-inches long, with a wingspan of about 26 to 30 inches. They are quite a sight to see, swooping and gliding nimbly among the tight clusters of trees, in spite of their size. Their bright red heads standing out vibrantly against the usually subtle colors of the forest backdrop. They don't migrate, but stay in their territory all year long. It's not often they are right out in the open around here, as they are skiddish, usually hidden among other trees in the woods. I was happy to have the chance to snap these shots, many times the camera isn't close at hand.

See how long, and strong the beak is?
I've inserted an arrow in the photo so you can see where the beak actually ends.

No matter what is going on in the world, I always take pause when I catch a glimpse of them going about the business of survival and feel fortunate to share the space with them.


  1. He's a beauty! I know we have one around us but I only know he's around when I hear his cry. I hope someday I see him up close.

  2. i have many of woodpeckers too, i love the brillant red in the garden, always catches your eye. great post mary~

  3. You write of nature as beautifully as you showcase your food. Both soothe my soul. I love to stop by and visit.

  4. It's true ..Mary loves her nature.. She and Jain have so much in common:)

    Thanks Mary!

  5. Mary, he is a beauty! I'm a wee bit jealous :-)

  6. What a beautiful bird! I love bird watching too and we have many different woodpeckers here in Michigan, but I've never seen a pileated woodpecker.

    We have a huge old dead oak tree on our property that I refuse to cut down because the woodpeckers and flickers love it. My husband finds the tree quite unsightly and would love to have it removed but I just can't do it!


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

A Sampling of my food . . .


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