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The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in most of North America. Its loud ringing calls and huge, rectangular excavations in dead trees announce its presence in forests across the continent.
These birds mainly eat insects, especially carpenter ants and wood-boring beetle larvae, fruits, and nuts. They often chip out large and roughly rectangular holes in trees while searching out insects.
Pileated Woodpeckers raise their young every year in a hole in the tree. In April the hole made by the male attracts a female for mating and raising their young. Once the brood is raised the Pileated Woodpeckers abandon the hole and will not use it the next year.
These holes, made similarly by all woodpeckers, when abandoned provide good homes in future years for many forest song birds. Ecologically, the entire woodpecker family is important to the well being of many other bird species.
They usually excavate large nests in the cavities of dead trees creating habitat for other large cavity nesters. A Pileated Woodpecker pair stays together on its territory all year round. It will defend the territory in all seasons, but will tolerate floaters during the winter.
The Pileated Woodpecker also nests in nest boxes about 15 ft off the ground.Pileated Woodpeckers make such large holes in dead trees the holes can cause a small tree to break in half. The roost of a Pileated Woodpecker usually has multiple entrance holes. Pileated Woodpeckers have been observed to move eggs that have fallen out of the nest to another site, a rare habit in birds. The cavity is unlined except for wood chips. "Both parents incubate three to five eggs for 15 or 16 days. The young may take a month to fledge."
Research from Wiki and All about Birds.
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