Oct 22, 2013

The males are showing off

Our friend Lance Mannion tells a story about woodpecker trouble:
Uncle Merlin called in from the Cape this morning to report he’s having woodpecker trouble. Judging by his description, a female downy has punched a hole in the eave of his house. He wanted to know how to drive her away. 
“I can’t have her building a nest in there and having babies.” 
I assured him that’s not what was happening. Downies don’t nest until the spring. What she’s doing is building a little apartment for herself for the winter. 
Uncle Merlin was not mollified. “Well, I don’t want her banging away up there all winter either.” 
She won’t be doing any banging. 
“I heard her!” 
“I don’t know. Last time I was down here. Two weeks ago?” 
That might not have been her. 
“Of course it was her. It’s her hole!” 
It didn’t take her two weeks to make that hole. A day, tops, and she did it quietly. Lots of poking and pecking with her beak. But no banging. That’s not how they work. The banging you heard was probably a male woodpecker showing off.
Rest of the story here.

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