The pileated became the obvious choice for this "award" when one flew in silently and landed on a utility pole 35' away from me at stop 8 this morning. I just happened to be looking in its direction as it approached. For the next 45 seconds the male woodpecker played peek-a-boo with me from the other side of the pole. I was standing close to my Vue and didn't move a whisker, which I have quite a few of these days. It sensed something was not quite right with this scene and finally flew back toward where it had come from, once again not uttering a sound.
I grew up around pileateds in southern Ohio, and the species always has been one of my favorites. I vividly remember when Karl Maslowski, the famous wildlife photographer from Cincinnati, came to the state park where I spent my childhood and built a tall photographer's blind so he could take pictures of a nesting pair. I still have one of his black and white photos hanging in the hallway of my "parents" house in Ohio.
When Kate and I moved to westcentral Ozaukee Co. in 1977, we were pleased to find the county's only pair nesting nearby in the beech-maple woods at the UW-Field Station at the Cedarburg Bog. A pair has nested there every year since, and pileateds now make regular appearances elsewhere in the county. During the WBBA field work, some evidence for its breeding was gathered for more than half of the state's quads. The pileated was confirmed as a breeding species in all counties except 8 along the IL border and in southeastern WI. BBS data show it is increasing throughout most of its range; the WI annual trend is a
+ 5.0% since 1966. It is certainly an attention grabbing species!