Monday, February 7, 2011

Mother Nature needs to rethink pecking order

They’re back! And I thought I had at least another month before the pecking started in earnest.

It all begins each year with just a vague little sound off in the distance. As often as not, it’s a tiny annoyance that I manage to ignore until I find myself holding my breath, trying to figure out what’s going on around my house.

Something is happening somewhere; I just have no clue what or where. Eventually I put on hold whatever I’m doing and venture out into the hallway, once again holding my breath until I hear a whack, then another and yet another. It’s always a series of tiny pecks, fluid in execution, a primal act of nature.

At some point I’m able to figure out what direction the sound is coming from and then, not unlike a heat-seeking missile, I explode, dashing into whatever room my inner radar selects, whipping up the blinds, ready for action.

As often as not, the culprit ignores me all together. Generally it’s a finch or sparrow, almost never a woodpecker. Go figure! For whatever reason, the little birdie and its friends and family grow tired of the pines and hardwoods dotting my property and take special delight in pecking holes in the siding of my home.

My plan of attack is simple. Bang on the walls and windows until the feathered rodents fly off and begin pecking away at the home of one of my neighbors. Occasionally, I dash outside and grab anything nearby – pine cones, pebbles, bricks – and lob it in the direction of the birdie doing the damage.

All this effort generally works – for about five minutes or so. On really bad days, bands of birds spend the morning feasting on my home, banging away until they manage to create a foothold of some sort. By the middle of spring there are often a half-dozen holes in the siding of the house and dozens of laughing birds mocking my efforts to battle Mother Nature.

The chill of winter will hold off the annual full assault for at least a few more weeks and this year I’m gonna be prepared. I’m toying with the idea of buying a pellet gun or, better yet, a howitzer. Anyone have a decent recipe for fried finch or sparrow stew?

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