Southwest Michigan Wildlife columnist for The Herald-Palladium

Pileated pair

Two young pileated woodpeckers at the entrance to a nest hole, awaiting the parents to bring their next meal. They were nearly ready to fledge the nest site when these photos were taken in late May at Love Creek County Park.

Brad Anderson came across a pileated woodpecker nest at Love Creek County Park in Berrien Township in late May, and photographed two young woodpeckers peeking out of the nest hole awaiting their next meal. Both of the young birds appear to be males as told by their red “mustache” feathers located along each side of their bills, a feature lacking on females. Male pileated woodpeckers also have red foreheads, present on these two individuals.

Nests of pileated woodpeckers are very difficult to find because the adults become very secretive once the nesting process begins. In southern Michigan, the nest hole may be excavated by the adults as early as April. Eggs appear in May, four being the average number in a clutch. Young usually fledge by June, but stay with the parents until the autumn or early winter before they venture out to find mates and territory of their own. Pileated woodpeckers raise only one brood per year.

Pileated single

A pileated woodpecker at the entrance to a nest hole in late May at Love Creek County Park.

Eastern Box Turtle

An eastern box turtle on May 16 near the corner of Cleveland Avenue and Glenlord Road in Lincoln Township.

Eastern Screech-owl

An eastern screech-owl on May 11 in St. Joseph.

Jonathan Wuepper is an area naturalist. Report your sightings to him at wuepperj@gmail.com.