Tuesday, 4 February 2014

He's Back! ~ Our Pileated Woodpecker Returns

Today the teachers noticed a bit of a commotion in the parking lot during half day pick-up.  Parents and children were standing in the parking lot all focused on our tall pine trees.  Can you guess what they were looking at?

A Pileated Woodpecker

Our pileated woodpecker is back!  He was unfazed by the commotion that he was causing and continued to peck his holes.  The last time he visited us was three years ago.  In fact, it was February 4, 2011 when we last published a blog post about our feathered friend.  (That post can be accessed through the archive.)  In 2011 the woodpecker began pecking holes in the very same tree.  The old holes are visible in the photograph above.   Last time the holes were pecked to find food.  

The holes our woodpecker is pecking now seem wider and deeper than those pecked three years ago.  There are also at least five fresh holes.

While we don't want to get our hopes up, a typical woodpecker roost (nest) has multiple entrance holes.  Could our woodpecker be pecking these holes to attract a female for mating?  Only time will tell.  Eggs are usually laid in April.

At recess the full day children had quite a treat.  We went out into the parking lot to get a closer look at the woodpecker.  We were so quiet and the only sound we heard was the peck, peck, peck of his beak.

I can't say who was more excited to see the woodpecker today, the children or the adults - teachers, parents and grandparents.  We are so fortunate to have such a large and mature property in the heart of Oak Ridges.  Each season at our little yellow school brings us into meaningful contact with the natural world.  This is something that seems to be disappearing from our everyday lives.  We are grateful for the gifts of nature that are all around us.