A Pileated Woodpecker Graces the Subtle Beauty of a December Woods

Being outdoors in central Ohio in December doesn’t exactly snap your head around.  This is usually not a big problem as most of us are busy with the holidays. However, for those who insist on spending time in the woods, this time of year can be a challenge. Recently, a cloudy/foggy, warmer than average, morning greeted us as we started our favorite five mile loop around Highbanks Metro Park. With the exception of the, more than we could count, Gray and Fox Squirrels, the woods were quiet. The few birds that flitted around in nearby trees never stayed in one spot long enough for a picture.


Still, as we walked, the woods shared a subtle beauty. Perhaps it was what was missing that allowed us to appreciate it. Then again maybe we were just caught up in a little wishful thinking or December optimism, “Perhaps things really are better than they seem on the surface”.


One of a number of creeks flowing through High Banks Metro Park


Part of the reason for the hike was that we were hoping to see at least one owl, and there was always the resident pair of bald eagles, surely we would see them. Well, we didn’t see any owls, and apparently just missed the eagles. Perhaps sensing our disappointment, a Pileated Woodpecker was nice enough to make an appearance and tried it’s best to cheer us up.


Pileated Woodpecker





The Pileated Woodpecker’s handiwork, 6″H x 3″W x 6″D, by no means the largest seen but impressive nonetheless.


It worked!


However, given the landscape, the woodpecker almost seemed out of place. It’s bigger than it should be size, and striking body shape, color and markings, were a real counter point to the early winter woods that it calls home. While seemingly more suited to someplace tropical, not central Ohio in December, we were still thankful for it’s presence, and there’s always next time for the owls and eagles.


December Landscape, High Banks Metro Park.


Thanks for stopping by.



3 Comments on “A Pileated Woodpecker Graces the Subtle Beauty of a December Woods

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