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Pileated woodpecker twins peer from their nest cavity.

How I Got That Shot: Pileated Pair

Text & Photography By Peter Gray
Every spring as the New England landscape comes to life, I go exploring outdoors in areas old and new to me. This particular day found me on the shores of a northern lake, where I set up my tripod and camera and waited for some interesting animal to enter the scene.

Eventually, a pileated woodpecker flew across the water and entered a wooded area not far from my position. Over the next several days I observed the timing and flight pattern of this beautiful bird, which evidently had a nest in the trees.

One evening, I entered the woods and began searching the thick canopy for the woodpecker’s nest cavity. Eventually, I found a small opening through the leaves and observed two juvenile pileateds waiting for their next meal delivery. Using a low shutter speed and high ISO setting, I was able handhold the 400mm lens and capture this scene undetected by my subjects—a silent experience at dusk, added to my outdoor memories.


Gear Used

Body: Canon 90D

Lens: Canon 100-400 @ 400MM

Shutter speed: 125

Aperture: F5.6

ISO: 1000


For more information on Peter Gray’s work, visit the Peter Gray Outdoors Facebook page.