Archive for September 28th, 2007

Woodpeckers: Pileated

Friday, September 28th, 2007

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

Fragmentation of old growth forests in the southeastern US and Texas, prime ivory billed woodpecker habitat, may have contributed to the species’ “extinction.” Yet, reports in 2005 said that after nearly 60 years in oblivion, the woodpecker had been rediscovered in Arkansas.

We’ve been getting a lot of calls since that announcement in oh-five, from people in east Texas that are wondering why there’s all this hoopla over ivory bills, because they’ve had them in their yard for years.

Cliff Shackelford is a non-game ornithologist with Parks and Wildlife. While the ivory billed woodpecker is the largest woodpecker north of Mexico…

We didn’t do a very good job telling people there are two big woodpeckers. And the other one is a common bird in the eastern third of Texas, and that is the pileated Woodpecker.

That’s the bird people have spotted, said Shackleford. It’s an easy mistake to make, too, as the woodpeckers are similar in size and appearance.

They’re black, white and they have some red on them. But the big difference between the two, when they’re perched on the tree, the ivory billed has a white backpack. So, the folded wings give it the look like it’s carrying a white backpack. Whereas in the pileated, there’s no white. It’s just continuously dark on the back.

Log onto for links to more information about the ivory billed woodpecker, and what to do if you think you’ve seen one.

That’s our show for today… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.