Pileated Woodpeckers in Everglades City

This is the Camellia Street Grill in Everglades City, FL. 20160503-DSCN3316

It is a quirky, bayou-ornate little restaurant right off of Chokoloskee Bay, FL. Johanna and I, the always famished travelers, drove three laps around the entirety of Everglades City trying to find this gem. It is tucked away behind a large driveway and a few sturdy old palm trees.

When we arrived, we walked in to find not a soul. No patrons and no workers. And no sign detailing the hours of service. Only a stray fly buzzing and torn screen mesh flapping to the beat of the rotating fan. But with a little luck and patience, eventually someone came out and we ordered our food. Fresh clams (a first for me!), fried green tomatoes and fish tacos. If you're a hipster or a foodie or a combination of the two, go to this restaurant.

While waiting for the clams to arrive, Johanna and I baked in the sun. We sat quietly in a comfortable daze becoming sleepier and sleepier until I heard an unmistakable sound. It's not necessarily a nice sound. I don't know if anyone would consider woodpecker song overly melodious. But it certainly does get your attention.

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If you were wondering where the cartoon for Woody the Woodpecker comes from, it's mostly from this guy, the Pileated Woodpecker. I say mostly because Woody is actually the lovechild of a Pileated and an Acorn Woodpecker. This guy was especially interested in papaya. He was also decimating the ants on a telephone pole.

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Together, a male and female Pileated Woodpecker excavate a new nest hole every single year. It takes them 3 - 6 weeks depending on the type of tree they have chosen. The optimal tree for cavity nesting is an old dead conifer. But they will nest in deciduous trees (oaks, maples, and elms) if they can find nothing else. Generally the female lays 2 - 4 eggs and both parents share in incubating, brooding, feeding and nest sanitation. Chicks fledge the nest in just under a month.

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Pileated Woodpeckers are fairly long-lived birds. They've been recorded to live to over nine years old in the wild, a very impressive longevity for a wild bird of its size.

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See you Wednesday! Prepare yourself for dinosaurs.