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Pileated Woodpecker by Phil Brown

Pileated Woodpecker by Phil Brown

The large bird glided through the growing dusk into the maple across the yard, calling loudly. My head jerked up at the sound. What was that bird? I left the garden, where I had been picking the last of the tomatoes and onions, and crept closer. The black body, thin neck, and red topknot identified it immediately. A pileated woodpecker! I hadn’t seen one for many years, and never in my own yard. I watched as it snacked from the grape vines twisting through the maple, its body dark against the yellowing leaves. Such a regal bird with that long neck and red crest—I stared in fascination.

 Too soon it flew off, down toward the woods at the back of our property. I retrieved my vegetables and strolled back to the house, a cool breeze brushing my cheeks. Amazing how such a small thing can brighten a day. The gray October clouds no longer dulled my mood, as I replayed the bird’s flight in my mind, so grateful that it had come by when I was outside. Blessings come in many forms. To a birdwatcher, they may come with wings and a flash of color. Or in the shape of clouds or the tint of a sunset. In the little details of nature and of life that we often forget to look for. Each day holds a blessing, if our eyes are open to see it. Lord, open my eyes.

More about pileated woodpeckers: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Pileated_Woodpecker/lifehistory

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