In late April 2013, life-long birder Lew Scharpf was photographing birds in a park in Auburn, Alabama, a city just west of the Georgia state line, when a male Pileated Woodpecker landed in a nearby tree. It was excavating a nest cavity about 70 feet above the ground. To get good photos, Scharpf knew he’d need his telephoto lens, extender, and tripod.
When he returned a few days later with the equipment, the male was with a female, and both woodpeckers were working on the cavity. Scharpf focused on the birds and was thankful for the rich blue sky behind them. Just as the female lifted her white-lined wings and flew out of the hole, the male perched beside it. He posted his remarkable photo of the scene in our U.S. and Canada Gallery.