Our backyard borders land owned by the Port Gamble Skallam Tribe, previously owned by the Pope-Talbot Company. Pope-Talbot owned numerous forest land in the area and harvested the trees from it. In June-July 2020, it was time for the trees behind our house to be harvested. With modern machinery, it takes no time at all to clear acres of trees. These trees were about 35 years old, which is the normal age for harvesting. Below is a video of the harvesting operation.
As a matter of fact, Lincoln, who cut down some trees on our property a few months ago, stated that he remembers the last time those trees were harvested, around 1985 when he was just a youngster.
All of this just to say there used to be a forest behind our house that is now gone, but there are still plenty of trees on our property and the surrounding properties. The property to our north has not been built on, so it is all trees and brush.
This year, while we have been working in the backyard, we continually heard a very loud distinguishable bird call more than in past years. I used an app on my iPhone to identify it, and it is from the Pileated Woodpecker (the largest woodpecker in North America). Below I have placed a video from YouTube of the birds along with their call. It makes me think of Woody the Woodpecker every time I hear it, and that’s a lot.
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They are definitely nesting in the area, I think in the property to our north. When I was in the back, removing some stumps and backfilling the holes, there were all kinds of commotion going on. I think there are babies, though I haven’t seen them yet.
I am not a bird watcher, but I am interested in what is living and making its home in and around where we live. We routinely see bald eagles (they have a unique call), eagles, and osprey flying overhead. There are numerous robins in our yard, as well as hummingbirds. When we first moved in in 2016, we often heard barred owl calls but seldom hear them now. We have seen them around, so they are still in the area.
Update: Unfortunately, the woodpeckers and their marvelous calls have disappeared not long after I wrote this post! Rose said that one day she heard a lot of commotion from crows in the area of the woodpeckers, and we think they scared them away, or worse.
I searched on Google to see if it was common for crows to pick on them, but while I found a couple of posts, it does not seem to be a common occurrence.
About a month or more after they went silent, we once again hear their calls in the distance. Maybe they had to move due to the crows, or maybe it is a different pair. We don’t know.
Rose and I really miss them and their calls.
Below is a video I took in our backyard of one of them before they vanished.