Woody Woodpecker Has a Girlfriend

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One of the joys in my exile is that I maintain three bird feeders and a great little ceramic artisan birdbath. Two of the feeders are crammed with sunflower seeds and one is a Chinese plastic hummingbird contraption with a fading red top.

Even though I live in what I term, “Posh Poverty”, I’ve concluded you’re never too poor to feed the birds. The cost of constant replenishment is paid back in the joy they bring each day.

What amazes me most is the regularity of their feeding. Sparrows and wrens and red-winged blackbirds are always around, to be sure. But throughout the day, a variety of different kinds of birds come in turns. Chick-a-dees in the morning. Sammy Jay invades just before lunch and pushes everyone else away. Grackles visit and kick the seeds onto the ground for others (including the fat cheeked chipmunk who has a family under the front steps).

They’re always glad to see me. Particularly when I fill the feeders, and their happiness at my existence is only outmatched by the greetings from my Retriever canine companions, Ace and Lila

Among the variety of winged friends who sponge off my generosity have included:

Mourning Doves, a Killdeer, Baltimore Orioles, magnificent goldfinches, a pair of cardinals, American Redstarts, Canada Warblers, red-throated hummingbirds, grackles, English Sparrows, Chick-a-dees, House Wrens, Blue Jays, Red-winged Blackbirds, an occasional mocking bird and my favorite … Woody the Redheaded Woodpecker.

Woody was a bit of problem to begin with. He would be pecking so hard at the eaves in search of bees that he would wake me up and his noise was downright annoying … to say nothing of the carnage he left behind.

Now though, he comes regularly to the feeders, his distinctive crackling song greeting me in the morning and again in the afternoon. He’s quite strikingly colorful. Animated, with a good sense of humor. He takes a mouthful up to the top of the electrical poles where he stores seed I think. And pecks away with a vengeance!

This morning, though, I noticed a slight difference in his behavior. Instead of frantically munching away like a wild banshee, he hesitated as he lighted onto the peak of the pole, glancing furtively around as if looking for an unexpected guest.

“Why the change in attitude,” I wondered. The answer came quickly.

“Elementary, my dear Watson. He’s in love”.

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