watercolor and gouache on toned paper

Pileated Woodpecker

I do love going out with the bird watching gals, though it remains a humbling experience. The combination of my inexperience and poor eyesight frequently result in my finally getting the binoculars focused on the right spot just as the bird flies away. Last week it happened within five minutes on the trail when everyone got to see the Barred Owl except me! An owl, no less. My favorite.

Not that these wonderful ladies didn’t do everything they could to help me zero in on the right branch. “See that tree to the left of the tallest one? Now count down three branches below where the clump branches off and. . .”

But this time (with substantial help from my new friends) I got a really great view of the pileated woodpecker in the distant treetop and watched him for a while as he worked his way up with an unobstructed view. That’s what I’m talking about!

w/c and white gouache in beige toned sketchbook

Easily satisfied at this point with simply learning to recognize a bird, I am delighted with any more tidbits of behavior and lore to remember. Here’s what i found online: “[Pileated woodpeckers} represent steadiness and loyalty. If you’re feeling like giving up on a difficult task or work assignment, the Pileated woodpecker may present a good symbol for remaining steadfast and continuing until your task is done.” I’ll take that as a personal lesson, at least for this week when I may have once or twice wanted to give up on something difficult. Ahem.

Now I can be found stopping on the walking trail practicing with my Merlin app, identifying the birds I can’t see by their song. I stop every so often to try this, or to identify blooming plants with the Leaf Snap app. Have you tried these? Instant knowledge of the sort that our little phones are so good at, and they’ll even record the results so that you don’t have to tax your memory!