One of my all-time favorite birds is the Pileated Woodpecker. The largest North American woodpecker, they are roughly the size of a crow. I was on my way out of the woods one morning when this old gal cruised by just a few feet in front of me and I knew immediately what it was– a crow wearing a big red hat! Had I just spotted my beloved p-dub? I watched nervously as she flew by, hoping she would stop so I could just have a look; and stop she did, in the deepest, darkest recesses of the woods. I chased her for five minutes before she’d had enough and in that time I fired off 97 shots! The light was terrible but I knew this might be my only chance so I fired away. Then I raced home and got on the computer to examine my take and I certainly was sweating it as I got through about 85 photos of nothing but dark, fuzzy, out of focus shots; and then with my hopes dwindling, I came across this shot and it’s good enough for me!
Several years later I spotted the early stages of a cavity being carved way up in the side of a tree, could it be my p-dub? I’ve always wanted a shot of one peeking out of a hole in a tree, so I spent a week monitoring the progress. On that last fateful day I decided I would camp out under this tree for as long as it took to get the shot. As it turned out I didn’t have to wait, not even for a second, because he was there when I arrived! He was proudly putting the finishing touches on his new home.