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Daddy Woodpecker Nurturing Nestling Wins December Photo Contest

Photo for: Daddy Woodpecker Nurturing Nestling Wins December Photo Contest

Minooka resident Eileen Capodice captured the final monthly win in the 2021 Preserve the Moment Photo Contest with her shot of a daddy woodpecker feeding its hungry nestling. 

Now that the monthly portion of the contest has concluded, overall contest winners will be picked via public voting on Facebook starting at noon Thursday, January 6. (See below for information on how and when to vote for your favorites!)

Capodice snapped December's winning shot at McKinley Woods – Frederick’s Grove in Channahon. Contest judges were captivated by the rare and colorful action shot of the male pileated woodpecker regurgitating its meal for its offspring.

"This photo was a special one for me and so exciting to capture!" Capodice wrote in an email after being notified of her win. "On one of my trips to McKinley Woods for a nature hike, I spotted a pileated woodpecker and was so excited when I noticed that it was excavating a hole.

"So, each time I hiked at that preserve I would check in on the nest while I was there," she added. "Eventually, after about a two-month period from when I first spotted it, I noticed the babies' heads poking out of the hole. After much patience, I captured the dad feeding the juveniles."

Capodice said each nestling would take its turn poking its head out of the nest to eat.

"It was a beautiful moment and one that I was hoping to capture when I first noticed the nest being excavated and prepared," she wrote. "In the days after this photo was taken, the babies had fledged from the nest and the entire forest preserve was echoing with the sounds of the new family. It was pretty awesome to witness and capture some cool moments throughout the whole process."

Being in the woods and observing nature helped her make it through 2021, she said.   

"This past year particularly for me, the Will County forest preserves continued to prove to be a wonderful resource as an outlet to explore, de-stress, get some nature therapy, learn some new things about photography and my camera settings, and in the process capture some new and exciting moments with my lens to share with others."

Honorable mentions in December were awarded to:

  • JoAnne Salime of Naperville for a butter yellow American water lily at McKinley Woods.
  • Deepak Sibal of Naperville for sandhill cranes moseying through water at Whalon Lake Preserve.
  • Deepak Sibal for a pectoral sandpiper basking in its reflection at Whalon Lake.
  • Carol Goolsby of Joliet for ethereal fungi sprouting at Hammel Woods preserve.


Help pick the overall winners!

More than 800 photos were entered in the contest, which began May 1 and concluded December 31. December’s winning photo was the last of eight monthly finalists chosen for the 2021 contest.

Voting to narrow down the eight monthly finalists to the top three photos will begin at noon Thursday, January 6, on the District’s Facebook page. Voting will end at 11:59 a.m. Wednesday, January 12.

The final round of voting to pick the contest's first, second and third place winners will take place from noon Thursday, January 13, to 11:59 a.m. Monday, January 17. 

Each comment and like counts as a vote on the individual pictures. 

All photo contest entrants received participation gifts, monthly winners received $75 Visa gift cards, and overall contest winners will receive Visa gift cards of $500 for first place; $250 for second place; and $150 for third place.

Three random drawings also will be held for all contest participants. The three winners will each receive a $75 Visa gift card. Only those participants who have not won a prize in the 2021 contest will be eligible for the drawing. Prizes are funded by The Nature Foundation of Will County


Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to The Compass, our weekly digital newsletter that provides subscribers with updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family. If you're only interested in programs, subscribe to Get Going, which outlines the must-do programs each week. Signing up for either newsletter is easy and free of charge.


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