Sunday, February 03, 2008

Grandmother Nature's Practical Joke

Wasn't it only yesterday that I was complaining that I hadn't seen a pileated woodpecker for entire the 31 days of January? Didn't I just wonder why I hadn't seen a song sparrow in all of January?
So how is that yesterday, in the space of an hour without ever leaving the cabin, that I saw both of them? I didn't get a photo of the song sparrow, so you'll have to take my word on that one, but I do have proof for the pileated.
The photo is not the best, but it was taken through my second floor window, looking down at one of the trees next to the cabin. I have about a dozen photos, of which this is about the best. Pileated woodpeckers move quickly, I discovered. So I have blurred photos, photos of the red head only, of the beak only, of the tail get the idea.
I'd no sooner grabbed this photo and gone downstairs to put the camera away when I saw a song sparrow in the feeder. So, after not seeing either species throughout all of January, both show up as soon as February begins.
And before I move on, what's your take on the pronounciation of this species? Are you a "pill-e-ated" or a "pile-ated" pronouncer? I started out as "pile-ated" before I ever heard anyone pronounce it, but as soon as I met a few good birders, they all said "pill-e-ated" so that how I say it now.


nina said...

I'm in the Pile-eated camp.
That's how I learned it as a child and it stuck.

I am frustrated, too, when what I'm looking for eludes me. And find, more often than not, it finds me when I'm not looking!

Carolyn H said...

Nina: It gets even better--today I also finally saw the hairy woodpecker, which was atypically absent this January. And I was inside the cabin when I saw all 3 of these johnny-come-latelys.

Carolyn H.

ChicagoLady said...

I've always pronounced it pill-e-ated.

I usually find that when I'm not expecting to see something (and don't have a camera or binoculars), that's when something interesting appears. When I'm prepared, I see the usual birds that tend to hang out here.

Chris said...

Great bird finds!!! Great picture also, even if it is through your window.

NW Nature Nut said...

I'm in the Pill-e-ated camp. I managed to get 31 species in my yard in January. It wasn't easy, I had a friendly competition with a friend, so that go me putting every kind of food out and watching my windows at every opportunity. You list is great!

winterwoman said...

I still say Pile-eated. I think it sounds better.

pablo said...

I took a third pronunciation route: "pie-lee-ate-ed."

Now I say "pill-e-ate-ed."

PA-Birder said...

I say Pill-e-ated, but on one PBS program I heard two different "experts" pronunce it differently so who knows! It's great about the Pilieated and the Song Sparrow, birds never cease to surprise!

Carolyn H said...

All: omigosh! At this point I think there are as many pronounciations of pileated as there are people. Let's just say it anyway we want to and not pay any attention when the next person says it differently.

Carolyn H.

kat said...

I use "pill-e-ated" because that's how I have heard birders with more experience than I, pronounce it. Interestingly enough, I went to Merriam Websters's online dictionary and plugged in the word, which is pronounced by them as "pill-e-ated". Having said all that, I'm glad you finally saw your Pileated Woodpeckers!