My earliest memory of woodpeckers is from my childhood. I grew up in Rochester, but when I was young my parents purchased 80 acres of land in Steuben County.
This became our weekend and summer vacation destination. I roamed freely through the woods, unguided, unafraid and largely ignorant of what I was experiencing. One day I heard a loud hammering sound and thought someone was trespassing on the property — perhaps even building a stand or blind to hunt from. I crept forward carefully intending to catch him in the act, but found instead two Pileated Woodpeckers pounding holes into a dead tree to extract the insects. These birds were enormous, about the size of crows. I never even knew such a large woodpecker existed. I learned that the Pileated Woodpecker is the largest species of woodpecker in New York. These are the birds responsible for the large rectangular-shaped excavations in trees. They are signs of feeding, not nesting.