Tuesday, February 26, 2008

more signs of spring

The other day while I was at the bus stop, I heard a woodpecker drumming in the distance, and it sounded like he was drumming on something rather a bit more resonant than a dead tree full of yummy insects. In the spring, woodpeckers drum to establish territories and attract a mate, and a woodpecker's prowess is reflected by how loud he or she can drum, which is why you will sometimes hear woodpeckers going to town on metal siding or a metal mailbox: I am woodpecker, hear me roar! The woodpecker I heard on Sunday was drumming on some solid wood or possibly heavy plastic--probably somebody's house. I'm sure there are birders out there who can ID a woodpecker by the rhythm of its drumming, but I am not one of them. Downy or Hairy are the usual suspects in this neck of the woods right now, with the dim possibility of a Pileated.

The chickadees are fee-beeing all over the place now. I hear them on every sunny or warm-ish day that I leave the house, and even on the days that I don't I can hear them outside through two panes of glass. A little while ago I was filling the feeder in the yard, and a chickadee hopped down to the honeysuckle to watch, which is always fun. The yard chickadees definitely know me and know that I am the Bringer Of Food, so sometimes a few will gather around when I go to put more seed out. Anyway, this one flew in, hopped around a few branches a bit, then started belting out a loud, clear FEE-BEE, FEE-BEE. Am I a rival he was trying to scare off or a mate he was trying to attract? Or maybe he was calling his lady-friend in for dinner. I was standing close enough that I could watch the little black patch on his throat fill with air as he sang.

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