Thursday, November 13, 2008

Knock Knock...



I fall for it every time. I live in a wood house with no doorbells. Who wouldn't? Knock knock knock knock knock....the impatient rap sends me running to the front door (possibly a delivery?) then the breezeway door (friend or family?) only to realize I've been had again. It's November I remind myself, and it's the woodpeckers. Scads of them, and they are making us crazy. Me, because once I get use to their incessant knocking, I begin to ignore ALL knocks. This leaves me chasing down the delivery trying to be made once I realize that for once it is NOT the woodpeckers. Or it leaves me explaining that, yes I was home when you stopped by, but that I didn't come to the door because I thought that you were, yes, a woodpecker. If you and I are both lucky, I catch you in the drive before you just give up and think we're not home. My three year old daughter announces every woodpecker to land on the house and have a go because she is now in on the joke too. My husband is losing his cool because he is convinced that the woodpeckers are having a plentiful meal of bugs, in the wood house. The bugs are a concern, of course, but so are the wood shingles which may now resemble Swiss cheese. All manner of heckling from husband to woodpecker occur when he happens to be here during the times when they are knocking. He tells me often, you really need to run outside and scare them away. Right, I'll just grab my coat and sit guard in the front yard to save me the hundred times going in and out the front door. Ohio is home to seven different types of woodpecker. They include the red-bellied, red-headed, yellow-bellied sapsucker, downy, hairy, northern flicker, and the pileated. The type that likes our house is the red-bellied. This is misleading, because as you can see in the picture above, his head is red, not his belly as the name implies. I was happy to learn that the red-bellies often knock to attract mates, and that their knocking is a lot more about getting busy than getting bugs. Somehow I don't think this is going to soothe my husband but at least I have stopped having nightmares about crawling bugs all over the ceiling. November is typically the time that the birds would be feeding while pecking, but I think we may have a bit of a competition going on here. There are quite a few of the birds flitting around at any one time, and while they are trying to grab a meal, I believe they are also trying to keep other birds from grabbing their mates. This would explain the variations in knocking patterns that we hear. We have spotted quite a few of the other species of woodpeckers here at Hawk's Run, but it's the red-bellied who prefers the house over the trees. Every now and again I'll wake in the morning to a cute little redhead looking in the bedroom window. I think it's sweet until he starts knocking on the sills. But at least he has the decency to show himself so that I don't get out of bed to go answer the door.

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