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The first thirty minutes of our outing was extremely quiet with a handful of Black-billed Magpies, Pine Grosbeaks, Black-capped Chickadees, and a flyover Sharp-shinned Hawk.
|A Sharp-shinned Hawk (possibly the same bird), Accipiter striatus, that we connected with later in the morning|
|More deeply unsatisfying views of my nemesis (this is a 420mm lens) - right in the centre of the frame, apparently headless!|
|Male Pileated Woodpecker, Dryocopus pileatus|
Pileated Woodpeckers are, probably needless to say, the largest of North American woodpeckers, about the size of a crow. They chisel away at trees with their large powerful beaks, often foraging close to the ground where they excavate rectangular holes to feed on ants and other insects inside the tree. The whole woodpecker family has evolved a number of fascinating adaptations to enable this feeding behaviour: stout bills with an elastic layer of tissue between bill and skull bones, long barbed tongues that curl around the back the skull, nasal tuft feathers (visible above) that protect their nostrils from flying wood chips, and stiffened central tail feather shafts (visible below) that help prop the bird up on the trunk.
|Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus|
|Red Squirrel, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus|