There is no sight, no sound, more impressive in the Southern Illinois woods than the Pileated Woodpecker.
When that jungle-like screech goes echoing through the woods, you sit up and take notice. Likewise, when you see that huge bird with the white wings and fiery red crest, you cannot divert your eyes no matter how you try. And, when the pileated goes to work on a tree, you think there has to be a construction crew in the neighborhood. The pileated is 16-17 inches in length with an impressive 30-inch wingspan. There are not great numbers of pileated woodpeckers in the forest, but they are found throughout the eastern United States. Carpenter ants are among the pileated’s favorite foods. They often forage low on dead trees or on fallen logs. Their drilling creates oval or rectangular holes. Although I see pileated woodpeckers frequently in Southern Illinois, this photo was taken at St. Augustine, Florida. We were walking along a trail, looked up and Voila! My most frequent sightings have occurred at Crab Orchard and Glen O. Jones.