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Bird of the Week: Pileated Woodpecker

Imagine walking through the woods of the Metroparks…wind rustling the branches and leaves, birds singing and insects buzzing. As you look down the trail you see a hole in tree the size of a coke can. While some may think nothing of it, others hope it’s a sign of a bird that was once a rare sight in southeast Michigan…the Pileated Woodpecker. With black and white stripes along its neck and bright red crest, this bird is nothing short of striking. The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker species in Michigan, measuring at 19”. That makes it almost as large as a crow! This excavator creates deep holes in trees to forage for carpenter ants, their main food source. The holes created from these excavations serve as shelter for owls, ducks and swifts. These birds are often found foraging near bases of trees but can be seen at all heights of the forest. Check out the pair that nests at Oakwoods Metropark!

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