I’ve written about birds before. I posted about Wild Turkeys, about Sandhill Cranes, and about my most favorite bird of all, the bluebird. I haven’t written about Woodpeckers, because I haven’t really thought about them. Until recently.
Woodpeckers, came to my attention, and NOT in a positive way, when Sister Number One, in Wisconsin began her War Against Woodpeckers. For some reason, last fall, the Woodpeckers in her neighborhood (and I use that term “neighborhood” loosely) began to attack her house. Her home is cedar-sided, and the Woodpeckers were pecking right down to the insulation. In multiple areas!
She tried everything! She put up fake owls. She foamed the holes. She hung up shiny strips of silver mylar. She put up cameras, and sounded some sort of alarm when she saw one of the birds land and begin to peck. When I was visiting her last fall, she had me hold onto her waist as she leaned out of the second story window to set up her defenses. I’m not kidding to call it War.
Here at the Lake, Pileated Woodpeckers thrive. These last days, I have “enjoyed” the woodpecking serenade every morning, and I’ve thought about the War. I’ve wondered if I should engage in battle, down here, on behalf of my Lake family. It was a swiftly fleeting thought.
The Pilated Woodpecker is the Woody Woodpecker of the species. He (or she) is the size of a chicken. It has a wingspan of 28 inches, and is the largest of the North America Woodpeckers. They, like all woodpeckers, eat sap, bugs, fruit and nuts. They have a distinctive cry, and my former spouse and I used to sit here at the Lake, gazing up stiff-necked upward at the pines, trying to see one of those guys. I never have.
The War Against Woodpeckers up north is currently at Truce, as the “Great Polar Vortex” put Woodpeckers into a cease fire. Hopefully, when the Thaw comes, those guys will have found richer feeding grounds, or at least will have used the winter to get therapy for their OCD.
Here at the Lake, I think I might grab a chair, plant myself in the yard with some binoculars, and site a Pileated. You’d think with a 28-inch wingspan, they would be hard to miss. Then I can tick that off my “life’s desires” list, and move on. Hoo-boy. It’s the simple things, for sure.