Posted in Crows of the Hood

Whole lot of Bird Singing

Today the sun was shining and it had warmed up to mid-40s.  Yes funny how just getting out of freezing temperatures gave us all spring fever. This includes the birds in the hood. All along my walk to and from Fauntleroy Park I could hear them shouting out their happiness.  Whole lot of singing love was in the air.  They are not wasting time finding a mate or re-engaging with their long time honey.

On the subject of bird pairs, I was graced by seeing a Pileated Woodpecker pair on a dead douglas fir tree. This must be the same pair I had filmed on the west side of the cedar grove. The tree they are on was on the southeast corner of the cedars. Basically another gully over. They gave themselves away by their knocking and thunking which echoed across the forest. Once I located them I took some photos of one of them to share.  However I at first did not realize that lower down was his mate.

Enjoy this little clip – I swear he would stop and say to the grubs in the tree – “Come out Come out!”

I was really quite away from the tree they were on. Notice how the video wobbled a bit?  That is because of the zoom I was using without a tripod. This next pic shows you how far away they are and if you look carefully you can see the male up toward the top and the female hanging out lower on the tree trunk.

Distant tree has two woodpeckers – low at the bottom is the female and up towards the top on the side is the silhouette of the male.

How about another episode from my walk?  I found this place up in the brush above the Cambridge street entrance that someone put three stakes in the hill-side and three boards across. I came back to it today and sat down to enjoy the birds, sunshine and forest ambiance.

Here is a set of bushes that a song sparrow and wren were chirping away and even showed themselves a couple of times.  Sorry no bird photo.  I was inhaling their excitement over some warmth instead of fussing with my camera.

Little birds were digging around and chirping in this area of bushes.

While I was sitting there a little Anna Hummingbird came flying up between the limbs of an alder tree directly in front of me. Maybe less than 6 feet away. He(she) stopped stared at me and then decided I wasn’t too bad. He then went over to a piece of hanging moss and poked it. Could be he is doing a little sip of moss dew or perhaps seeing if it would work in a nest. Then he just flew over my head up the hill behind me and was gone. Later I saw him flying around the area doing his hummy click click sound.

It was a special place just like the hummy was trying to tell me. Check out the moss that was glowing from the sun behind it. It had some lovely shades of pale green.

Moss was abundant at my forest watching spot.
Moss Glow is pretty special

During my walk to and from the park I kept notes on where I saw crow families. Not surprising they were in the places I tracked 2011.

On an even happier note, I saw my gimpy crow that hangs out at 39th & 106th. I had not seen her(him) for many months and feared her time had run out.  The first time I saw her was in November of 2012 which would make her at least 6 years old. She is living proof that crows are tough birds with a lot of plunk and determination.  If you want to see more on her here is a link to a post just about her.  Gimpy Crow of 39th

39th Ave Gimpy Crow in Mar 2019 seen again at last

Back to documenting where they are hanging out.  Here is a little map I marked with my crow sightings today.

Crows Arbor Heights Map 3-3-19

I wondered if the three crows seen on 106th in two places might be the same. It is possible but the second place in the alley between 41st & 42nd I did not see Gimpy. My prior research had them as two separate clans.  Today’s alley group range further to the west towards MVD and the 39th clan are more along 107th and into the Arroyos.

Hope you enjoyed my adventure.  Never know what you will see if you look up.

Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Woodpecker Pecking Away

Heading home up the trail at Fauntleroy Park I heard some knocking.

Old Stump attracted woodpecker in park
Mr Woodpecker was a busy guy – check out the red mustache that means he is a Mister.

Since there was no door close by it had to be a woodpecker.

Sure enough it was the drilling of a Pileated Woodpecker. The chips were flying off this tall tree stump.

Then when I started to walk away I saw another bird fly. Sure enough it was a another woodpecker coming to join the busy one. A close look reveals that it is Mrs. Woodpecker. She has a grey mustache. How great is this! My woods have a pair & babies this spring to find and watch!

Then there were two woodpeckers with big red heads
Just a little closer shot of the two Woody Woodpeckers

Never know what you might see in life. She just keeps waving her magic wand and delivering!

Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Peekaboo Woodpecker

The enchanted forest in Fauntleroy Park gave me another wonderful moment today. Here I was walking back up the trail to go home. Then I saw this flash of red ahead of me. It was a Pleated Woodpecker landing on a tree only 20 feet away from me.

My first thought was this is a young bird. I was right this is a juvenile and a female one at that.

After a little research I found that if they have brown eyes they are juveniles.  They turn yellow when they are adults. Add to this the male has a cheek red patch plus the red top-notch.  The females only have the top-notch.

Young woodpecker in Fauntleroy Park, Seattle

She first went up and down the dead tree trunk using her strong claws/talons.

Check out the sharp claws on this pileated woodpecker.

She played what I called peekaboo with me. Seriously, not sure she knew I was even there.

After I got a few still photos I took another short video and got a good close up of her hammer heading into the tree. If you look close you will see her tongue going for the bugs she is mining.

This sighting is not too far from where I found the barred owl a few weeks ago. Nothing like a gift from the forest on my weekend walk.

Posted in Birds and other fun topics

Pileated Woodpecker moment

I had a serendipity moment last weekend walking back from Fauntleroy Park. I heard the screech of a woodpecker that could only be a Pileated. Last August one visited our bird feeder and I did some research on how he seemed to resemble Woody Woodpecker the cartoon character.  Don’t be disappointed but it was the Acorn Woodpecker he was fashioned after. Here is that post for a little more info on the subject.  Woody Woodpecker

At first he was off in the distance on a power pole.  As I pulled my camera out he flew right onto the pole next to me. Hallelujah!!  Here he is posing for me.


Then he started preening and I got this shot for you to enjoy.


Posted in Birds and other fun topics

A Woodpecker Visit

What a special visit we had from a Pileated Woodpecker on our tree stump.   He pecked his way up the dead wood. One moment he was on the trunk and the next he jumped over to our bird feeder.   There he swung from the side and gobbled up sunflower seeds.

If you ever are honored to hear the call of this woodpecker you will think you just were sent back to prehistoric days.  It is so primeval and jungle like you will shake your head & ask what is that?

Pileated Woodpecker raiding bird feeder

I often thing the Pileated looks like Woody Woodpecker the noisy cartoon character from the 40s.  Checking this out on-line I found there is a lot of debate about this. Who would think people would debate Woody Woodpeckers origins!

To my surprised, he is fashioned after an Acorn Woodpecker not a Pileated.  I found this post by Julie Zickefoose who tells the real story of Woody.  Here is what she said:

It turns out that Walter Lantz, the animator who created Woody Woodpecker, had personally given Garrett a copy of his biography, and in that book it says that Walter and his wife, Grace, while honeymooning in a California cabin, were amused by an acorn woodpecker who was poking nuts under the roof shingles. They liked the “little raucous scream” the bird emitted. Grace said to Walter, “Why don’t you make him into a character?”

Posted in Crows at the Beach

Crow and Gull Big Feed

Tide was out today during my visit to the beach.  Not a seriously low one (only about -1) but low enough that there was some space between the waves and the driftwood that was kicked up recently.  Before we talk about the Big Feed, I want to alert everyone that next week is a King High Tide weekend.   The Washington State Dept of Ecology is collecting photos of this tide to help determine what low land flooding could look in the future.   In preparation of that  last weekend, I started taking photos of our beach’s normal high tide.  I did an article about the King Tide months ago.  It was more related to the low tide that followed it but here is the link if you wish to read up.

On to the Big Feed.   This week I was joined by about 40 crows and a small family of seagulls.   The gulls that frequent the area are the very common Glaucous-Winged Gulls.   The juveniles have a darker grey plumage and don’t get the full adult white and grey appearance for 4 years.    The attached video will show you how crazy it gets when I feed the group bread.   The Gulls are bullies to not only the Crows but to their own young.  At about the half way point I ran them off and you will also see how the adults are picking on the juvenile.   No respect within that family when it comes to a hand out.   However, I do not feel bad for the babies.  During the summer months you will see what a nuisance they become to their parents.  They cry and cry.  Enough to drive any mother crazy.

Update on some other birds:

The Pilated Woodpecker was on a power pole across from the gate to the beach trail.  I noticed or rather heard him drumming away.   He was marking his territory and I assume he is the same one I saw a few weeks ago.


Pilated Woodpecker on power pole.


Vision of Woody Woodpecker smiling?

The Crows at Costco remembered me.  When David & I got back into our car Saturday there they were staring right at me.  Where is the hand out they were saying.   I found an old granola bar in the glovebox and crumbled that up for them.  One of them was so brave he swooped down while I was standing only 5 feet away.  The Gulls were there too but the crows beat them out.

Lastly, this weekend I saw Robins flying in packs around the neighborhood.   Here is a picture of them in a fir tree.   I used to think they were a bird of summer up here but now that I pay attention I have noticed they are around all year.   Just a little less prevalent and my bird book says they are different birds than the summer ones. They do some odd seasonal migrations.


Flock of Robins all in a row on a fir tree
Posted in Crows at the Beach, Crows on the Road

Pileated Woodpecker and Crows at the Beach

This weeks I was given a grand show by a Pileated Woodpecker.    Remember Woody Woodpecker?   If you do then you know what they look like;  red crest with a black and white body.  Known as the third largest woodpecker in North America they make a striking pose when you see them.  You might hear them first with a screech that takes you back to  cave man times.   Yes I almost expect to see a dinosaur around the corner after hearing that sound.

When you hear them drumming on a tree they are not only looking for insects but they are marking out their territory.   Like Crows they have a territory and they defend it for sure.   It is much bigger in size than the Crows plus they don’t really like each other.  That is except their mates who they marry for life.

This particular bird was chowing down on madrona tree berries.   I have to wonder if they haven’t started to rot and ferment which would lead to drunk birds.  That is a pretty funny sight when it happens.  Lastly, I know he is a boy because of the bigger red comb on top and a red streak on his face.

The Crows this week are still in big flocks that when I throw bread become bigger and bigger groups as they tell their friends and relatives that the smorgasbord is open.  They followed me from the beach up to the Peanut House.  Must be around 35 or 40 of them.   Certainly more social than the Woodpecker I saw all by his lonesome in the woods.


Murder of Crows on Marine View Drive that followed me from the beach

For those that are Amanda Knox info hungry.   Still no sign of the paparazzi in the neighborhood.   Guess she is old news till her book comes out.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!!