Monday, February 3, 2014

Pileated Woodpeckers along the Oyster River Trail

The Oyster River Trail is a popular walking trail on Vancouver Island that runs from by the old bridge to Salmon Point, it is not uncommon to see Pileated Woodpeckers when walking through the forested section, there are even old nest holes high up that I have seen Pileated's go into for the night.
Finding Pileated Woodpeckers Vancouver Island
One day after turning around and on my way back with my D200 and 300 af-s f4 lens and a small tripod I came around a corner and there was a family of Pileated Woodpeckers working an old log that was laying down right by the trail, so I set up to try for some pictures, I set up low since they were on the ground and its always good to get  at the same level as your subject. A lot of photographers don't like to use tripods but I find it is the best way to get sharp pictures, you can keep your iso down for clean pictures, it helps your composition also.
Oyster River Trail Vancouver Island Pileated Woodpeckers.
It was a female and two juveniles, one of the juveniles could forage on its own but stuck close by and the other was being fed by the adult and kept close to her. The juveniles have a washed out pinkish look to the tops of there heads compared to the bright red of the adults, juveniles also have dark eyes that slowly will turn yellow as they mature, young pileated's will stay with the parents for the summer, it takes time to teach them how to find food.
Vancouver Island woodpeckers foraging for food.
They rooted around that log for a bit and flew off, I thought that was it so I start walking down the trail again and there they were around the corner, so I set up again and watched them forage for food and took some photo's.
On Vancouver Island two Pileated Woodpeckers along the Oyster River Trail.
The other juvenile a male searched for food on his own, even a young pileated with it's sharp bill doesn't have any trouble making holes in logs.
Juvenile Pileated Woodpecker Vancouver Island.
Pileated Woodpeckers have strong muscular tongues with a sticky barb on the tip.
Woodpecker tongue
It was a bonus getting a second chance along the trail to see these amazing birds. They don't always show up on the trail in front of you, sometimes there up high or just on the other side of a tree so you don't see them, listening for there calls and the tapping noise of them excavating a feeding or nest hole is a good way to find them.
Vancouver Island woodpecker
I have plenty other pileated pictures from a different location you can check them out here.

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