Monday, June 4, 2012

pileated vs. ivorybill

The lower half of the back of an ivorybill woodpecker is white 
(It's the folded secondary feathers along the
trailing edges of the wings.)

Woodpeckers are intense excavators of dead wood as Rex Daniel found out.

Rex, part-time Ijams staffer and photographer, took this excellent video of a pileated woodpecker working on one of the split-rail fences at the nature center.
A lot of people locally call to tell me they have an ivory-billed woodpecker in their backyard. 

"Are you sure? What color is its back?" I ask.
"It's black."

"Well, that's a pileated woodpecker, still a wondrous bird to see."

Historically, the ivorybill, largest woodpecker that ever lived in the U.S., was never in this part of the state: floodplain along the Mississippi River, yes; Tennessee Valley, no.

If this video had been of an ivorybill, the lower half of its back would be white, not black.

- Video by Rex McDaniel. Thanks!

1 comment:

Marie said...

I would be so thrilled to see a Pileated....have never seen one. I wish more people were aware of how rare Ivory-bills have been for so long, and probably no longer with us....if I saw an Ivory-bill I wouldn't casually comment on could probably hear me back here in AZ from Mississippi or Arkansas when I made the sighting! :-)

By the way, I have a book order headed your way....the one I mentioned to you a couple of months ago for my sister. Check is enclosed. Thanks in advance!!!!