Sunday, August 29, 2010

Misdemeanor

Woodpecker holes
a necklace of damage
orderly as beads.

Though they look like a row of bullet holes shot across a wall by one of Capone's gangsters, they're more decorative than detrimental. The tree doesn't notice. I almost didn't notice, either. That's how they get away with it.

We have at least five woodpecker gangs in southern California: the Downy Woodpeckers, Nuttall’s Woodpeckers, the Northern Flickers, the Acorn Woodpeckers and the Red-breasted Sapsuckers.

I couldn't pick this job's culprit out of a lineup but I'm going to take a chance and lay my money on the Acorn Woodpecker, a southern California native. I've seen those guys around and I wouldn't put it past 'em. They know where all the bugs are and this is their turf.

I stay out of their way. You've gotta be a tough little guy to make so many perfect little holes with your face.

14 comments:

Mister Earl said...

Ah, to be a creature named after its most important body part.

altadenahiker said...

Hah! Indeed. Woodpeckers charm me.

TheChieftess said...

Woodpeckers are charming at someone else's house!!!

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

We have a few varieties of woodpeckers but mostly I see them rule the roost on our birdfeeder. Great close-up!

(I am going to ignore Mister Earl - hah!)

Petrea said...

So what would you be called, Mister Earl?

I think woodpeckers are charming, too. Sorry I didn't get a shot of one for this post.

Genie, I can't ignore him. Apparently I'm easily provoked.

Dina said...

LOL. Love this story.

Greg Sweet said...

The pecking doesn't cause much damage to the tree, but it could be a sign of detrimental insects.

Do you know the origin of the term "peckerwood", a pejorative for white people? As a tree dies, the wood-boring insects move in, and consequently the woodpeckers too. A dead tree will lose its limbs and its bark, but in areas of low humidity, it will continue to stand and the woodpeckers continue to utilize it. As the wood dries, and without any limbs or bark, the sun bleaches it white - hence "peckerwood".

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I wear red so that puts me in with the sapsuckers

Susan C said...

I love the gang analogy. Gives new meaning to gangsta' rap.

Petrea said...

Just reaching for a metaphor, Dina.

Can you prove it that, Greg? Kidding.

I'd like a red cap, PA. Jaunty.

Susan, I hadn't thought of rap. Funny! I like woodpecker music.

Greg Sweet said...

TMI?

Margaret said...

When I was in college, a woodpecker lived or hunted right outside my bedroom window. It was loud, but I loved it.

Greg Sweet said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92NpzXXpQtg

Petrea said...

Margaret, that sounds great. Literally.

Greg, thank you thank you thank you for that bizarre little piece of American rock history. Thankfully you'll never see a video like that today, but it tells of a moment in time.