On an early morning walk home from the gym, a sudden movement caught our eyes. One large bird and then two flew across our paths, crossed over the avenue and explored their way from tree to tree. One bird halted and began pecking a hole in a dead tree. The other flew on, beyond our view. They were a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers. How excited we were.
The Pileated Woodpecker is approximately 15 inches in length and is one of the largest woodpeckers found in North America. It has a black body with a red crest and white stripes on its neck and black and white stripes on its face. Males and females are similar, but males sport a red forehead and females, a gray to yellowish brown forehead. You may learn more about this glorious woodpecker, hear its call, see photos, learn about its diet, habitat and habits at http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/pileatedwoodpecker.htm
We have encountered this red-headed bird on hikes away from home. After 19 years of living in this neighborhood, this is the first time we have spotted this bird right outside our doorway. One wonders why.
Coincidentally or not, since early summer 2010, there have been frequent sightings of large wild turkeys and deer in the neighborhood. This is made strange only because this is an urban area of large rectangular blocks, homes, businesses and factories and wily traffic on the our main thoroughfare. The nearest wooded area is a couple of miles away intersected by a busy, sunken expressway. It is frightening to realize how dangerous driving could be here upon encountering this unexpected wildlife on the road.
I am a true believer in climate change. How often we realize the need to take care of our great Home and understand that change does happen and better prepare to take action to protect our resources and environment.
Recent controversies are also fascinating surrounding expert climatologists being caught up in alleged fraud and fibs about the current condition of our planet and meddling with encroaching warnings about dire changes that can be happening within our lifetime only for their own selfish means to their ends or lack of careful scientific research skills.
I am also a strong foe of out-of-control urban and suburban sprawl and the diminishing habitats to support nature’s wild things. These destructive practices remain out of control with no end in sight.
The summer has melded into fall and I have not enjoyed a second sighting of the woodpecker, only deer and wild turkey. Out for a walk on a recent October day another sighting caught my eye. White Irises in full bloom were glowing in the early morning sunlight. Perhaps there is a species of late blooming Irises. If so, they are unknown to me, but they were a treat to the eye. Nature is always changing and rearranging. Keeping our eyes peeled and our senses sharp, for whatever the reason or cause, nature’s surprises are revealed to us when least expected.
Ann Carol Goldberg