Being out in the yard today, I heard all the birds of spring. After the awfully cold winter and now 80+ degree temps during the day, it’s no wonder that everything has “blossomed”. It’s a sound to behold when you can hear all the birds and their songs. The robins with their “what’s wrong with me” chirp. The cardinals with their echoing call. The wrens with their noisy chatter. The catbird with its warning call of a kitten in distress. And of course, the woodpecker.
To hear a woodpecker tapping away on a log or tree, is like a drum in the chorus of other bird songs. Some of you may be familiar with these birds who tap into old logs, wooden siding on houses, or wood fence posts. The rap-tap-tap of their “song” seems to stand out among the others. And when they go after siding, fence posts and other objects, they aren’t hoping to find bugs; they are looking for a mate.
Did you know that the male woodpecker finds a mate by the sound of his tap? Oh yes. A soon-to-be Mrs. Woody is enthralled by the sound of Mr. Woody’s efforts. And this spring certainly has its desperate males. Hoping to hear the rap-tap-tap on an old maple in my yard, which is usually the hangout of most male woodpeckers, what I heard instead was a loud banging noise. And then, I remembered….
A few years ago a male decided that the road sign along my road was the best object to capture his mate. He sat on that sign for several days–rapping and tapping. He could be heard only in the morning, possibly so as to get his business done with early. He would tap so incredibly loud that I would appeal to the females in the area by saying, “Please! Someone find him before his head falls off!” And eventually some female would be so enamored with the sound, she’d fly on over and off they’d go. But this year, it was different.
Instead of the road sign, this male (or one of his understudy) decided it would be a good idea to rap-tap-tap on the galvanized bucket I have next to my hand well. See photos below. Do you think he went after the small one on the left? Oh no. This was one smart Woody, and he wanted to be a daddy early. He went after the biggest one, and it had a little water in it, making the sound even louder.
After a couple of minutes of this, he stopped. And when I tried to take a picture, he flew off. Maybe to find some Advil for his head. Or, hopefully, that female was close by and felt sorry for him, and is now nursing his sore head.