Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pileated Woodpecker at Mom's





Last weekend as he washed breakfast dishes, Mom's Garden Buddy spotted two Pileated Woodpeckers* visiting the ash tree off the deck, where suet feeders hang during the winter. One flew off before Mom could grab the camera, but she managed to get a couple of nice shots of this one through the kitchen window.



Being rather shy birds who don't often venture far from the edge of the woods, they're more often heard than seen. Kudos, and thanks to Mom for sharing these photos, and to her Garden Buddy for being so observant!


*Writing the brief post to accompany Mom's photos, I once again became curious about capitalization of common names of birds. For example, I've seen Pileated Woodpecker, Pileated woodpecker, and pileated woodpecker in various reference materials in the past. I wondered if there was a definitive 'rule' on proper capitalization of common bird names, and this time I decided to check it out. When in doubt, look it up in a dictionary, right? In that case, the correct capitalization is no capitalization - pileated woodpecker.

It turns out this can be a rather controversial subject among ornithologists. If you're curious about the controversy, see here, and here, for examples of the many articles I found on this subject. What was the conclusion after spending more time than I'll admit researching this matter? Nothing definitive, only more evidence that I am indeed a geek. Or is it Geek. . . !?


20 comments:

  1. It's exciting to see such a bird in one's garden. And what beautiful bark too.

    Capitals - I've decided to use them more than is conventional - so I would say Piliated Woodpecker (as you have done) whether I should or not.

    Lucy

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  2. They are beautiful birds, aren't they? Those are some great pictures too. Kudos to mom and her buddy!

    Research is not a geek-y thing to do, we have to have something to do to pass the time until it's warm enough to get out and garden again. Of course I'm a geek too, so I may be a bit biased....

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  3. To capture a shy bird in digital form is a rare chance... thanks for sharing. ~bangchik

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  4. Totally gorgeous birds!

    Shawna

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  5. That's so cool.

    In my adult life I've only seen one of these in person.

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  6. Great pictures! These are such big and pretty birds. We had a couple visiting to eat the apples that no one could reach in our apple tree.

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  7. These are beautiful birds! I've never had one visit here, at least I've never seen one. Your Mom did a great job getting such good close-ups of this one.

    When it comes to grammatical rules, I'm a geek, too, Linda. The problem with capitalization is that it's often a matter of style preferences. I like to be sure I'm using the preferred style, but each source may give a different rule. In the end, I guess you have to go with what seems right to you--and you won't be "wrong"!

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  8. Gorgeous bird.

    Personally, I go by Chicago Manual of Style, which abhors unnecessary capitalization, As do I. It would say no caps for common names of birds, or flowers, for that matter. See, now I think you might like the Chicago Manual. (I don't know why--just a hunch.)

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  9. Garden Girl, the bird has nice bold colours! I can imagine it to be so cold for the bird to be out in the open... I hope it will go back soon... it would be warmer in the nest he he... Nonetheless, have a great week!

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  10. PS: The plant you asked earlier is Polyscias 'Dwarf Variegated' from the Araliaceae family.

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  11. How fortunate to live in an area where pileateds also live. I don't think I have enough woods near me to support them. We do have many smaller woodpeckers.
    Marnie

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  12. Ha! I think it's geek since geeks aren't a new species, just a variant of a human. ;-)

    I just love pileated woodpeckers (I will go with lower case although I usually do upper). I occasionally see them around here and it's always a thrill. I remember the first time I saw one, just a few months after we moved here. I heard it first. It was an exciting moment for this bird geek!

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  13. What a beautiful bird! And good for you checking on the grammatical details! This world needs more grammar nerds like us! :) I also prefer to only capitalize proper nouns, and this wouldn't count as one.

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  14. What a handsome fella', Linda. We have a similar handsome pileated woodpecker/family that hangs out at our cottage (for the past 12 years) ... "Comes with the place," the realtor said :)

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  15. I love this bird~~gail

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  16. That is a great capture of the woodpecker. Those birds are very strange! Rosey

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  17. Ah, the female Pileated Woodpecker on film! She is a beauty and a welcome visitor to our woods. One of my happiest moments of bird watching from my sunroom windows was the day a male and female landed on my bird bath! I hated that they had to resort to my birdbath during a drought but so happy to see them. They must have been desperate for water as I was washing the windows in the sunroom so they had to see me! We installed a pole for suet just for their pleasures but have yet to see them on the suet. I see them in the woods munching on the bug infested trees instead so they have plenty of food just not water during drought times…

    As far as Caps, well I so use them out of context but that happens when you live in Germany for 6 years where all Nouns are capitalized. That’s my story and I stinking to it anyway, hee hee….

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  18. Haven't been lucky enough to see one of those. Nice shots!

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  19. Oh, Linda! You've captured the perfect shot! They are such beautiful birds! I've seen them, just haven't been lucky with the lens :)

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  20. My daughter has these in central Wisconsin. We became acquainted with them years ago in N. Wisconsin. I've never seen one here. They are magnificent birds.
    Balisha

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