Wondering About Woodpeckers

In the past three weeks I have seen dozens of woodpeckers. One was a red-headed woodpecker—it was huge compared to the others and it had the fluted crown or V-shaped feathers at the back of its head. The others may be the same few birds I’ve seen repeatedly but it’s rare to see (or hear) one let alone being able to watch so frequently as they hammer and poke at the tree trunks.

This morning one pummeled the metal trim on the roof of the condo next door. Sometimes I hear a woodpecker hammering on the metal roof of the carport. I always assumed it was stabbing a succession of insects and then moving on to a tree. But this morning I clearly saw the hammering only–Ta-ta-ta-ta-tap. This reminded me of about month ago when a reverberating tapping yanked me from deep sleep. It was a Saturday morning and the only day in months I’d had the luxury of sleeping in.

I staggered to the front door. No one there. Now the same echoing tap startled me again. Rubbing my eyes, I stumbled into to the living room;I heard it again. Now I saw it, too. A medium-sized woodpecker clung to the screen of my picture window and I watched as it drilled against the window pane yet again. I cringing, bracing for shards of glass to land on the window sill and tile.

The glass didn’t shatter, and the woodpecker flew off. My heart continued the rapid-fire pounding that matched the early-morning tapping of the woodpecker. Of course, I couldn’t return to sleep after such an invigorating wake-up!

I’m left wondering why these birds do that. It would be annoying except for the fact that I now recognize that sound—of drilling on glass—and mine is not the only window targeted. I wonder, will I learn to distinguish the drilling of one type of woodpecker from another?

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