You Might Recognize This Woodpecker From TV

Did you know the animated cartoon character Woody the Woodpecker shares many of the same characteristics as a pileated woodpecker? Better yet, did you know these huge woodpeckers call our forest preserves home?

A pileated woodpecker. (Photo via Shutterstock)

Pileated woodpeckers can be as much as 19 inches tall with a wingspan of more than 2 feet! They require large, standing large trees and can be found in both evergreen and deciduous forests.


The sounds of the pileated woodpecker echo throughout the forest. They usually make high-pitched calls that last for several seconds. Take a listen:

Pileated woodpeckers make distinctive holes in trees. Their holes are large, sometimes bigger than an adult hand, and they are rectangular. The birds peck away at trees in search of ants, beetles and other insects.

Holes from a pileated woodpecker. (Photo by Kelli Parke)

Sometimes they peck so aggressively, you will see wood chips flying and piling up at the bottom of the tree. Watch a pileated woodpecker pecking away:

Coupled pileated woodpeckers usually mate for life and stay in their territory. They nest in tree cavities. The female will lay 3 to 5 eggs once during the breeding season. During the day, both parents take turns sitting on the nest. However, at night, only the male sits on the eggs. It will take about two weeks for them to hatch. Check out this active nest:

Want to see a pileated woodpecker in real life? Naturalists have spotted two pileated woodpeckers at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve. Visit the preserve for a chance to hear their calls, rock out to their drumming and see them with your own eyes!

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