All the trees on our large suburban lot were topped long before we moved here. The birches in front and the evergreens in the back. This means vigilance and tree inspections to monitor the condition of the trees. We've had several trees removed when they began to drop huge limbs on to the roof and our neighbor's car.
We ask the arborist to leave a snags when cutting the trees. We have one tall hemlock snag that was untouched for several years.
During the summer we found huge strips of bark strewn around the basketball court. But we never saw or heard any birds. Until now.
I was doing some yard chores when I heard the rat-a-tat of bird beak on wood. Peering around the bushes, I saw a large woodpecker with a bright red Mohawk. I didn't get the camera because the bird looked around constantly.
On the week-end my husband alerted me to the bird's return. I shot some pictures through the bedroom window. He reared his head far from the trunk to build up momentum for the percussive hits. Bits of bark flew thorough the air.
This is probably a male pileated woodpecker since the red extends down the forehead. His favored food is carpenters ants. Carpenter ants! 20 feet from the house! I hope he is extremely hungry.