Tuesday, March 18, 2008

dryocopus pileatus


Lately, there has been a Pileated woodpecker that has been eluding me. I cannot seem to get a good photograph of it, perhaps it is shy.


I hear her in the morning. Tap- tap tap..slowly...working on the tree nearby my window. Sometimes she will pause, and cuk, cuk, cuk. I'm pretty sure that she is a she because of her markings. If she is creating a new nest hole, it could take her up to six weeks to complete. The ground below the tree is littered with the product of her efforts. She is working the tree in several locations.


I look around to see if I notice a male nearby, but I don't. If her mate is around, he would be helping with the excavation. The nest cavity is long and rectangular.


Watching her, I am influenced. I decide to make a cap from the inner coat of the Shetland Fleece I have been working with. I made several batts with the drum carder and dyed the wool in the electric turkey roaster.... Jacquard Acid Dye - Crimson. And then, using a wet felting method, I fashioned the cap. There was still a lot of VM that needed to be removed. I used a felting needle and tweezers to pick it out. Tedious work.


Next, I used the locks of a Finnsheep that I have been teasing to ready them for spinning. As I sorted through the pile, I selected the ones with the most length to them. I used a thrum method, and knit a band,


which I finally attached to the cap using a basting stitch.


If you would like to read more about these wonderful birds, or hear the call that they make, I have added these links.

The first link has some wonderful close up photographs --including the long tongue that they use to extract insects from under the bark.

The other two can be found here and here.

post script: Thanks to the sharp observations of Manise, the bird in the above photos appears to be a male...note : "it has the red mustache stripe- therefore is a male!"


Sue said...

Cool hat! And one of my (many) favorite birds.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Oh girl that is one cool cap. You have met your inspiration.

Jessica at Bwlchyrhyd said...

I LOVE that hat!

Judy said...

Love the bird and the hat! How lucky we are to live so close to nature for inspiration.

LauraJ said...

WONDERFUL hat. And those look like pretty darn good pictures. I have them around but I hear them much more often than I see them. Love. Pleistocene remnants.

judy said...

The other Judy stole my comment. Indeed, we are lucky. The hat is fantastic. A modeled shot would be a good addition. I'll bet it looks very fashionable. Is this a city hat? or one for camo while you try to sneak up on her for that pic?

Valerie said...

Yes, they (the woodpecker) are shy...not at all like "Woody". However, they have no qualms about working on the cedar siding of our house every now and then.

Can't tell you how many times I've thought someone was knocking at the door over the years. Then get to the door and realize the d@mn woodpecker was at it again. Now that is like Woody!

Nice cap...neat inspiration/execution.

elizabeth said...

You got a great picture of her! That hat is one of the coolest things I've seen - I love those locks!

Sharon said...

Amazing nest hole, hard to believe a little bird is capable, just goes to show what you can achieve if you persevere!! We haven't got woodpeckers here in Australia.

Love the hat too, its fantastic!

Manise said...

I have several Pileated woodpeckers living in my woods. They are amazing and yes shy birds. My females are a light gray and my males look like the one in your photo. We have a pine tree that seems to be the designated practicing tree for the making of holes. Each spring a male will bring several juveniles for lessons. The sound is like someone thunking on a tree with a hammer. A white breasted nuthatch has taken up residence in one of them. Great post.

KnitChick said...

Cool Hat!!

That's a serious nest hole! Will it kill the tree?

It's great to come here and see all the signs of spring... our seasons are so mushed together that we don't have the same kind of dramatic spring that you get.

The Gingerbread House said...

cyndy what an inspiration to make a hat that resembles the head of a woodpecker....neat idea! Ginny B.

Beth S. said...

Your hat is VERY clever! :-) I love it.

And I'm very fond of the woodpeckers who live near my parents' place. My dad puts out suet in a log-shaped feeder for them, and they scarf it right up! :-)

Leigh said...

Great shots of the piliated! We hear them around here more than see them. I really like the way you used those Finn locks. I have some Leicester Longwool that maybe I could do something similar with.

Anonymous said...

That is one terrific, imaginative hat! Please post a picture of it being modeled so we got the full effect.

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