Common Grackle – Mourning Dove – Dark-eyed Junco – Sandhill Crane – Canada Goose

Weather at Whitefish Point, this time of year, is fickle. A few warm, sunny days with southerly winds saw snow melting and birds migrating, but a cold front moving in over the past few days has hampered migration to a point.

On March 29, Common Grackle and Mourning Dove arrived at the Point, with Dark-eyed Junco and a Sandhill Crane showing up the next morning and Canada Goose officially making it to the point on April 2. The grackle and Red-winged Blackbirds were presenting decent flights but have since been stymied by the aforementioned weather shift.

While not an uncommon bird, I find that catching sight of a Pileated Woodpecker for more than a moment hard to accomplish. Almost all of my encounters have seen the animal weary of my presence and quick to fly away, and I find that far more often I only hear their penetrating call or catch a glimpse of them as they quickly fly through the woods. Consequently, I have been ecstatic to be able to observe an individual twice for five to ten minutes over the past week, and each time when I’m not even in the woods but standing next to the buildings at the Point! Watching and hearing the huge woodpecker give its rattling call and seeing one hammer away at dead wood in person is an amazing experience and one I always appreciate.

 – Charlotte R. Catalano, WPBO Field Ornithologist

Photo: A Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) flying past the Whitefish Point Lighthouse. Photo by Charlotte R. Catalano