No, it’s not the title of my next book. In fact, I may not finish my next book in time because of the woodpeckers that have been plaguing me since January.
Back then, a red-headed woodpecker with the charm of dear old Woody began pecking at the birch tree outside the window where my desk is located. I thought, “What a cool bird. He’s gorgeous!”
By February, I wasn’t so fond of him. He had begun to drum on the gutters and then eventually made his big move: pecking the wood siding of our house. This was done brazenly, when it was abundantly clear that four humans and three felines lurked just on the other side of the wall which he was studiously chipping away.
My first step was to consult Wikipedia. From there, I researched several sites on controlling woodpeckers. Certain members of my household were all for purchasing a pellet gun, but I soon learned that ALL woodpeckers are federally protected and that one needs a federal permit (and sometimes a state permit as well) in order to “implement lethal control.”
So we chose the humane methods, which I found a relief. As much as that bird was bothering me and tearing apart our siding, I didn’t want to see him shot. Therefore, we hung several rubber snakes from the window. The snakes blew in the breeze and looked altogether ridiculous, but they seemed to work. For about a day. The woodpecker simply relocated to the back of the house. Thus, more snakes out that window. Even the mailman asked us what was going on…
March. Snakes are a total failure. Instead, we hang Mylar Elmo balloons and silver streamers from the windows and the birch tree. Woodpecker’s move: he gets a mate. Yep. Now there are two of them.
My deadline is approaching. Peck, peck, peck. I call an exterminator. “We don’t deal with woodpeckers,” he informs me. “Forget the birds!” I shout. “Kill the bugs they’re eating!” He promises to smear the walls with ant-annihilation paste.
Peck, peck, peck. Then, eureka! My cat kills one of the woodpeckers. But the feathered widow seems mad. He/she goes nuts just below the attic and finally, pecks their way THROUGH the house and inside. I hear them flying around up there, just above our bedroom. Now I can’t sleep or write.
“Buy the gun,” I tell my husband. He’s in the car within seconds.
April. The woodpecker has mysteriously vanished, but dozens of little wrens or finches or freaking chickadees are chipping away at the damaged siding. I call a carpenter. He replaces the boards. I call a painter. I call the exterminator. He’s dusting the foundation for ants again.
The cost of all this? $1200, a book that might be more violent than usual., a new pellet gun, and perhaps, therapy.
Have you ever had a negative brush with Nature?