What is this white blob nestled in a pile of woodchips?

Pileated Woodpecker scat! Pileated Woodpeckers spend the winters prying open dead and dying trees with their chisel-like beaks. They are looking for their favorite winter food – ant-cicles (hibernating carpenter ants who are virtually frozen). While Pileated Woodpeckers are excavating a meal, they will often drop scat packed with indigestible ant exoskeletons and washed in white uric acid (concentrated nitrogen waste).

If you don’t happen to see Pileated Woodpecker’s crimson crest or hear their uneven piping calls, you can look for their scat underneath large excavation holes as a sign that they are around in the winter woods. 

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