An enormous woodpecker was spotted this week near Poughkeepsie, causing many people to ask "what the heck is that?"

Here in the Hudson Valley we're used to seeing woodpeckers on trees and at birdfeeders throughout the winter months. The most common woodpeckers are small downy woodpeckers with black and white markings and red-bellied woodpeckers with their signature red head and stomach.

While both of those woodpeckers are interesting to watch, there's another woodpecker that has reemerged in the Hudson Valley that is unlike anything many people have ever seen and will certainly make you do a double-take.

Every winter our neighborhood is visited by an enormous pileated woodpecker. This bird is the size of a hawk or eagle and it's absolutely breathtaking. It makes its presence known by loudly pecking at a tree or wooden board with such force that the whole neighborhood echoes with loud hammering noise.

Our many new neighbors who've moved up from New York City are struck with terror at the sight of this beast, and I don't blame them. This particular woodpecker isn't one that many people see in their yards, so its appearance can be pretty shocking.

We've gotten used to the giant birds' annual appearance and look forward to seeing him or her peck away at the trees next to our house. Here's a video I grabbed of him a few years ago.

This is the species that Woody Woodpecker was modeled after with its signature red hair and long beak. The one that came visiting this month was slightly skinnier, but still just as impressive looking.

Have you seen a pileated woodpecker in your yard? We'd love to see your photos or videos. You can share them on our Facebook page or upload them directly through our app.

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