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Pileated Woodpeckers

The pileated woodpecker is a large unusual looking bird that can be observed in the Laurel Lake area. The pileated woodpecker grows to a length of 17 inches. Woodpeckers make their presence known by their beaks while hacking at a tree.

There are several varieties of woodpeckers in the Laurel Lake area including red-headed woodpeckers, red-billed woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, and northern flickers. Woodpeckers have the unique ability to anchor themselves perpendicularto the trunk of trees and peck the bark to get insects.

The pileated woodpecker is difficult to spot, but this bird's large wingspan (between 25 and 30 inches) of white-splashed blackwings make it easy to identify.

The pileated woodpecker leaves its mark on several trees, sometimes honeycombing them with recognizable rectangular holes.

The pileated woodpecker's diet includes colonies of carpenter ants that can destroy trees. The pileated woodpecker can easily find these ant colonies. They also dine on beetle larvae.

Pileated woodpeckers select large. branchless stubs in densely wooded areas. Pairs of pileated woodpeckers return to the same vicinity, often the same tree, every year.

Following mating, the female lays 3 to 5 eggs. Following an 18 day incubation period performed by the male and female, the eggs hatch. After 26 days, fledglings leave the nest.