[Tweeters] A chip on my shoulder from a Pileated Woodpecker

Rob Sandelin floriferous at msn.com
Mon Jul 25 21:00:20 PDT 2005

I sat in the woods this morning, just trying to blend in with the locals.
After an hour or so of several interesting observations of a spider I was
just about to go get some breakfast when the noise of wings came up from
behind me. I did not turn around, nor move and simply wondered what kind of
bird had landed in the tree behind me. The bird announced itself with a very
piercing loud call, a pileated, which by the sound of it, had to be just
behind my head. It called a couple more times, and then began sort of a
funny clucking sound, which I had never heard before. I imagined all sorts
of things were going on, but since it was all behind me, I had no idea what.
I knew that if I moved to look, the closeness would be broken so I held
still as I could. I could almost feel the whack whack whack as the bird
worked the tree behind me, and at one point some chips went flying by and
one landed on my shoulder. After a couple more minutes the sound of
childrens voices drifted through the woods and a couple of the neigborhood
kids came tramping by. Once again I heard the whoosh of wings as the
woodpecker went flying off. The kids stopped, amazed at the large bird which
flew by, then they walked right past me without seeing me at all. Finally I
was able to look behind me. The bird had been working less than 3 feet from
my head. I decided to keep the chip on my shoulder to add to my collection
of treasures.

Rob Sandelin
Naturalist, Writer, Teacher
Maltby, WA

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