There are few birds that are any flashier or eye-catching than a Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) in flight. The Pileated Woodpecker is Texas’ largest woodpecker. The body is similar to that of a crow, but the wingspan is much greater. The coloration is predominately black, with a striking red crested head. The feathers underneath the wing are white as is the face. A black band across the eyes lends a rakish air. The beak is slate black and another band of black runs from the lower beak to the neck. Often there is a red cheek splash. Woody the Woodpecker is probably the best known example of his species. Many people believe Woody is a Red-headed Woodpecker, but his crest proudly announces he is a Pileated Woodpecker. In areas that are dominated with smaller woodpecker species, Red-headed or Red-bellied Woodpeckers are sometimes mistaken for the larger Pileated. Once spotted, they are impossible to forget or confuse with another bird. Mating begins in early spring as the male excavates a large nest with multiple entrances to attract a mate. Once mated, the pair will remain year-round protecting their territory. Juveniles and floaters are tolerated during the winter months. Both parents will sit the nest and will even retrieve fallen eggs. The ability to physically retrieve fallen eggs and by extrapolation newly hatched young is rare in birds. The nest will be utilized only once by the Pileated Woodpeckers. These abandoned cavities are a boon to many other species that utilize nest-cavities, but are unable to create them themselves. Even without seeing a Pileated Woodpecker, you can identify a pair’s territory by looking for square to rectangular holes of the nest cavity or [...]
Wednesday, a family in Richmond saw an emaciated Barred Owl trying to drink from their pool. Upon closer inspection, they noticed that the owl's leg was caught in a steel-jaw leg-hold trap. A call to the Wildlife Center gave them the instructions they needed to safely capture and transport the owl. Veterinarians examined the owl and two of the four toes are badly mangled. Rehabilitation will be two fold; the owl's physical emaciation must be addressed so that the immune system with the aid of antibiotics and daily cleaning can battle any infection and heal the wounds. Click on the photo to see the video.
Jaree Hefner with the city of League City produced this wonderful short film of the Red-tail Hawk release! Click here to enjoy her film.