This morning I went for a walk before anyone else in the neighborhood was awake. The still softness held the fragrance of yesterday's mowed lawns. Bird song was the only sound. The freshness of the day was as a dreamer imagines an ideal April morning. It was perfect.
I was still in my backyard when I heard a Northern Flicker somewhere in my neighbor’s trees. By the time I reached the hillside hayfield behind our property, I found him pounding away in a maple tree. Immediately, I heard my favorite bird, Handsome, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, pounding on a tree stump at the back of our yard. It was exciting to see both birds at the same time.
As I switched my binoculars from one bird to the other, Handsome flew off the stump and headed straight for the flicker. He landed on a branch about eight feet away from the larger bird. OH! What is going on here?!
The flicker continued his work while the red-bellied started talking, screaming, complaining as much as possible. Handsome did not appreciate being ignored. He flew 15 feet to my neighbor's roof, strutted to the metal rain gutter and began to pound. The echo vibrated through the entire valley! Gosh! It was loud! I worried my neighbor was going to step out to see what was going on only to find me spying on his house through binoculars!
Handsome achieved his objective, but his plan backfired. The flicker was more than mad! He was an angry, ticked-off woodpecker! He flew to the roof, chased my Handsome away, and began to pound the gutter even more loudly! I was grateful the pounding went on for only a few moments. Satisfied that the annoying red-bellied disappeared, the flicker returned to his tree. I returned to my hike and contemplated the territorial dance between two species of woodpeckers.