Crazy time

jbroadus at jbroadus at
Thu Mar 14 18:30:07 PST 2002

Years ago I attended one of Pete Dunne's lectures, at a Rio Grande Valley birding
fest. I recall him saying that at his Cape May hangout they get so many predictable
phone calls in the spring, asking about the big, colorful bird doing odd things, that
they considered having a recorded answer that just said: "Its a flicker". I filed that
away with the other trivia of identification techniques from the experts and needed it
not again till this morning.

Clarice and I were munching at the breakfast (and general purpose) bar in our
kitchen this morning when a loud sound like a low roar came vibrating through the
house. I put down my TNT article about Fort Lewis snipers and she dropped the
funnies, not then but immediately when the house roared again. We looked at each
other, and then at the cat. Nothing there. Rooooar. Like a Harley starting up.

I went into our living room, which has a high sloped ceiling. Stood there, hardly
breathing. Rooooar. "Its coming from the wood stove". We have a free standing
wood stove with a long chimney pipe that extends about 10 feet above the roof, all
metal. It has a cap that does a pretty good job of keeping out the rain and a collar
that is supposed to keep out birds but doesn't, at least with starlings. (I won't say
what I do with starlings that fall down our chimney.)

Roooar. The living room vibrated. Do earthquakes ever come in short bursts? Then,
"Cha cha cha cha cha" from outside. Hmm, a flicker call.

We went out on the deck and peered up at "our" (meaning the one that eats the suet
on the widow of our office and explores our cedar siding for whatever) male flicker on
the top of our chimney on the rain cap. He seemed to be really proud of himself. He
was drumming straight down on the metal rain cap. I don't know if our chimney gave
him the resonance he really needed for full influence, but if he reads tweeters I want
him to know that his drumming scared any and all rival flickers out of our house, very

We then went off to work, at a 45 acre wildlife refuge we are surveying near Graham.
Parked the truck and were just getting out our gear when "Buzzzzz, Buzzzz, rat tat"
etc. The red breasted sap sucker that always greets us at that corner was drumming
on a telephone pole. It really must be that crazy time of year again.Jerry Broadus,
Geometrix Surveying, Inc.
P.O. Box 249
Puyallup, WA. 98371

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