[CT Birds] Reading 9

Dennis Varza dennisvz at optonline.net
Fri Sep 16 07:05:42 EDT 2011

Reading 9
Downy Woodpecker

If there is already a hollow in the tree of small size it is enlarged  
to the required dimensions in a remarkably short space of time, but  
still the housewife seems to entertain some doubt about matters in  
general, and wastes more time “poking around”! Wilson seems to  
approve of this questionable vigilance and remarks as follows:  
“Before she begins to lay, the female passes in and out, examines  
every part, both of the exterior and interior, with great attention ,  
as every prudent tenant of a new house ought to do, and at length  
takes complete possession”

Such good carpenters as these deserve a better name, but it is ever  
the case that mankind sums up the character of the bird in a trivial  
manner and labels him flippantly! Indeed sometimes we are not above  
cracking a joke on the label. It is in The Spenders, I believe, that  
the farmer tells of his economical experiment in feeding his setting  
hen on sawdust and finishing with the statement that of the thirteen  
eggs hatched out, twelve produced chickens with wooden legs and the  
thirteenth a woodpecker! Alas for the carpenter-bird, he is not  
appreciated; he carves his home in the heart to the apple tree,  
smoothes the its sides with the skill of a cabinetmaker, taps at the  
door of every insect that lives in the vicinity with a summons as  
inexorable as that of the Great Destroyer, and drums a rolling tattoo  
on a resonant limb or telegraph pole in a master fashion that would  
“beat the band”

The Downy differs from Woodpeckers in general; he is a sociable chap,  
for I notice he is always around when a flock of Chickadees and a  
Nuthatch or two are inspecting the old apple trees on the grounds.

Dennis Varza

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