It’s Sunday morning as I write this. A little earlier, as I was making my coffee, I heard a familiar, distant tapping that mimicked a muffled machine gun on metal. Looking out the kitchen window, I saw a beautiful white bird with a red crest, tapping away at my neighbor’s gutter. It continued its efforts a little while longer before flying back to its nest in the woods behind our subdivision. There’s another woodpecker that attacks the gutters of my neighbors on the other side of my house. Though I can’t tell the difference between the two birds, I’ve noticed that when they fly away, they fly to opposite directions, so I’m speculating they’re not the same one.
We used to have our own woodpecker problem. One particular bird, likely the one that was drilling my neighbor’s gutter earlier, used to attack the gutter next to one of the upstairs bedroom windows at my house. On mornings when I worked from home, I could hear the bird banging against the gutter at the edge of our roof. I’d step out on the back deck and the bird would fly away. There was no damage yet, but I knew it was only a matter of time.
Enter my 11-year old son.
Last fall, at the end of football season, my son’s team had their annual banquet. One of the items all the kids received was an actual-sized picture of their own face on a stick. My son’s had been taken with him looking mean, as if trying to intimidate an opposing team’s lineman.
We put that picture outside the window closest to the woodpecker’s target. Since that day, the woodpecker hasn’t returned.
This wasn’t a random idea. My wife looked up on-line how to get rid of woodpeckers. Placing a picture on the window was one of two suggested options. As the other option suggested placing aluminum foil on the gutter (i.e. me getting up really high on a ladder), the picture option seemed a little safer. However, my son wasn’t amused.
With the woodpecker not having returned, my son has asked that we remove the picture. We’ve declined, saying the woodpecker may return. His presence at our neighbors is evidence that he remains close.
In lieu of that, my son has asked for money for the use of his likeness. My wife and I said that sounded like a good idea, and offered to sell copies of his picture to the neighbors. If we can scare off all of the woodpeckers in the neighborhood, we figured we could sell his picture nationwide.
He wasn’t amused by this idea either.
If any of you have woodpecker problems, please let us know.