There has been a very accessible Pileated Woodpecker nest at Spring Valley Wildlife Area (map here) this year.  Cindy Beckman has been very dilligent in reporting the progress of the nest.  She and I and Bob Atkins were at the site this morning when the last of the three fledgings left the nest.  As an old fighter pilot, I am aware of that it takes a flight or two to get used to a new aircraft.  It is no different for baby birds.  Every summer, we see young songbirds falling off perches after clumsy approaches, but the experience of this young woodpecker was truly thrilling.  It came lumbering out of the trees, crashed into a big, solid tree trunk and bounced off.  It managed to right itself in midair and flew to another tree trunk.  It smacked into the second trunk somewhat less forcibly, managing to get a grip after sliding about three feet down the trunk.  It was quickly joined by its mum, who gave it a bit of food and urged it to climb up the tree.

The picture below shows the young woodpecker at lower right.  Note the short, brushy crest.  The dark moustache marks it as a female.  The mother bird is at upper left.

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