Winter has finally turned to spring. In the late afternoons I carefully position my Adirondack chair in my front yard. I sit down and admire my grass and dense woods that surround our home.

When we built our house, I was determined to place our home in the middle of the forest and leave as many trees as I possibly could.

On this day, I was siting and admiring the trees and beauty of nature and rethinking my day. Suddenly, off to the east I heard the familiar sounds of pecking. I looked up and there was a large woodpecker pecking away at the top of one of my trees. At first this industrious behavior aggravated me and gave me a pounding headache. Then, memories of the past flashed before me.

Five years ago I‘d gone through the same routine in the spring. The first sign of a warm day,

I took my chairs from the shed and carefully placed them in the front yard. The minute I sat down, an incessant pecking started on a tree about 15 feet from the front of our house.

My first thought was this little bird was trespassing and he needed to leave, now. That day I sat for about an hour and watched this bird continue to create a dozen or so holes in my tree. The tree appeared to be almost dead so I thought he couldn’t make the tree any worse. The bird finally left.


The very next day he was back pecking away at the same tree. I had just cleaned up the mess he had left from the day before and he was back at work.

Days passed and he continued to return and riddle and destroy my tree. After about a week of pecking it seemed as though the bird had left for good.

That Saturday my wife and I positioned our chairs and began to sit down. Lo and behold, there he was again but this time squawking and taunting the two of us.

That bird sure was nervy. It was my yard and I had worked 30 years to get to this place, and I certainly wasn’t going to let a little bird drive me out of my own yard.

More time passed and my wife said “honey, you have got to see and listen to this in the front yard.” She quietly led me out into the yard and said, “Listen to that sound.” We both silently stood and listened. It was the peeping of baby birds. I then realized that the bird had been a she, and she had given birth.

For the next six weeks we were as quiet as we could be and finally the babies grew up and flew away. When it was all over, my tree was a mess. It looked like Swiss cheese. I cleaned up around the base of the tree and immediately thought about cutting the tree down. Second thoughts led me to leave the tree in place for another year.

The very next spring arrived and so did the woodpeckers. They attacked the very same tree to my astonishment and we went through the very same experience with the birth of more baby woodpeckers.

I again patiently waited for the cycle and felt relief when the birds had left for a second time. At the end of that summer I got the chain saw out and cut the tree down, ending the woodpecker saga.

— Special to the Telegram

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