Barn Chore Surprise

pileated-woodpecker-Two girls, eleven-year-old twins, help me with my weekday morning barn chores. The girls love to help and all the barn residents love them too. It is nice to have help and what little girl doesn’t like horses! I very much enjoy their company; they are so sweet and fun.

On weekends I do all the barn chores by myself, I enjoy the solitude of weekends too. Everybody gets a little hay and then I clean the stalls. This particular Saturday morning, after I had picked up the…well… you know, out of the stalls I was emptying my wheelbarrow, and I was startled by something big moving behind the manure pile that is at the edge of the woods!

It was a pileated woodpecker! If you don’t know what they are think woody woodpecker, alright I know I’m dating myself but I’m sure he is still on TV somewhere today!  Anyway they are the largest woodpecker and always have reminded me of some kind of prehistoric bird. They are big, up to 20 inches long with a wingspan of up to 30 inches! They are black and white with a long neck and a bright red crest on their head. They have a loud distinctive call just like from the song “Wipe Out” (ok, just dated myself again…lol) and I enjoy hearing them. I hear them much more then I see them.

This wonderful bird mates for life and the pair has a territory of up to fifty square miles. Sometimes I hear them calling and look up and see one or two flying overhead. But I had never seen one on the ground before. We have some old dead trees in that area so I guess that’s why he was there. I think we might have startled each other. I watched him in awe as he flew almost silently away into the thick woods, quite a feat I thought for such a large bird.

I will take these kinds of surprises over barn chores any day!

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