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Seems the woodpeckers have taken up residence in my yard.

It actually started years ago. We lived in another place. The former owners had had an evaporative cooler on the side of the house, and they had replaced it with an air conditioner. They put a metal plate on the former opening. It was right next to the bedroom. We are not particularly inclined to get up at the crack of dawn. Woodpeckers are. They like to make racket. This metal plate was the perfect musical instrument. Rat-a-tat-tat! Rapidly. In the morning when we wanted to sleep. For ten, twenty minutes, or just about enough time to wake you up thoroughly.

In the new place, it seemed they were also always finding places that made gratifying noises. The more things change, the more they stay the same! The most recent thing, however, was when something decided to do a dance exhibition on the roof. We couldn't figure out what it was, but whatever it was would land, thunk! on the roof and then we'd hear the patter of little feet for awhile. It was enough to wake us up, and drive us nuts with speculation. Was it a squirrel? How did he get up there? Was it a hawk? It was too big to be a rat, we felt. After puzzling over this for a number of mornings, I finally heard the cry of the creature, and I knew immediately who it was.

The woodpecker decided he owns the paloverde tree near the parking space. I got several good photos of him there. He also owns the paloverde near the dog run. The dog run is a particularly tasty cafeteria. The natural diet of the woodpecker is bugs, and the bugs like the calling cards the dogs leave on the ground. So we also observed them hanging around the dog run quite a bit. There is a whole family of them.

The whole yard is their territory. They will hang in the ocotillo and scold me as I walk up the hill. They gather in the trees and scold me. Always they scold me.


Just the other day, I was actually in the dog run when one of them flew in, and landed on top of the fence. He didn't stay there long, but he was scolding me the whole time. Then he landed on the side of the door furthest away from me, and after that, on the edge closest to me. He wasn't more than four or five feet away. He wasn't afraid; he was just incensed that I was in his territory.

As they say, there are old pilots, and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots!

But one thing I didn't know, and that is that apparently woodpeckers have a sweet tooth. See my photo essay called Thief!

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