For the past 20 years or so, I have been contributing slices of nature to the program, CBS Sunday Morning, which always ends with a ‘Moment of Nature’ featuring an animal, wild place or natural phenomenon. Most of these are filmed somewhere in North America, but can be from anywhere in the world. These short segments are fairly unique on TV in that they include no narration nor subtitles, music, graphics or other typical TV trappings imposed upon the scenes. The goal of this entirely natural vignette is to enable the viewer to be present at the scene presented in the company of whichever animals may also be featured and where the only sounds heard are ambient sounds, primarily of wildlife.
All of my segments to date were filmed in North America and in the lower 48 states, where there are still many wild places where wild creatures are the primary residents and where human beings only visit, rather than reside. The links published here represent a substantial sample of these Moments of Nature (MoN) broadcast at least in part on CBS Sunday Morning, typically only the first minute or less, of the entire 2-3 min. + segment.
The most recent MoN highlights the pileated woodpecker, the largest woodpecker in North America, and perhaps in the entire world. It is often described as being crow-sized (i.e. common crow), including its rather robust chest, and largely blackish tone at first glance. However, a closer look reveals its striking red, white and black head striping which extends to its upper chest. Anyone who has ever watched woody woodpecker will recognize a familiar face in the pileated, which inspired ‘Woody’ and endeared woodpeckers to generations of Americans.
Growing up in upstate New York, any day that I saw or heard a pileated woodpecker was a special day, and I typically noted that in my journal. In the course of filming this segment, I discovered that pileateds may be locally ‘common’ (i.e. not rare) particularly in woods with a high density of insect-infested timber trees. Stands of white ash which are succumbing to the emerald green borer across the Northeast, is a prime example, and offer families of pileateds a virtually unlimited source of nourishment. This and the reforestation of large tracts of lands which were once small family farms, has given pileateds a new lease on life in the 21st century, creating unprecedented opportunities to encounter and enjoy them, particularly in the Northeast, -where I filmed them.
I hope you enjoy this brief encounter with them as I did the many days that I spend tracking them in the woods of western NY and Nw Pennsylvania: