Saturday, October 31, 2009

SBL Nature Trail 

Afternoon pole dancing at the Wood-n-Pecker Lounge. Two female pileated woodpeckers dancing around on a tree on Wednesday afternoon. Males and females look alot alike (both have red crests). But the males have a red "mustache" - the area extending off the bill and under the eyes - and red forehead - red extends from crest all the way down to beak (like Woody Woodpecker) - while the females have both a black mustache and forehead.

They spent about a half hour doing a kind of peek-a-boo mirror dance with each other. Where A would peek around the left side of the tree and B would peek around to the right. And then A to the right and B to the left and over and over again until both would stop and hang back opposite each other on opposite sides of the tree trunk as if waiting for the other to make the next move. That pause would last a few seconds until one would hop to the right or left and the other would respond by hopping in the equal and opposite direction, countering the others hippity hop. Next, one would hop up the tree a foot or two, and when the other hopped up the tree in response, the first would hop back down. Hippity hop, hippity hop. All the while continuing with the stop-n-go peek-a-boo around the tree groove. I never saw anything like it. And they provided all sorts of vocal backup for the entire number. Loud kik kik kiks and chirps and monkey chattering sounds and all manner of excitable racket.

I don't know what it was all about. Some kind of territorial ritual I guess. Eventually they flew off together in the same direction, one after the other. They let me get close enough to take their pictures though, about fifteen yards (i have a zoom function on the camera but nothing fancy), which they never do when they are just hammering away at the bugs in the bark.

I feel like I'm one of them now.

Photo above of the parking lot beside the Wood-n-Pecker Lounge.


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