My cabin is the battleground for a major avian war this week. The pileated woodpeckers are causing a near-constant ruckus. It started on Saturday and was still going on as of last evening.
Pileated woodpeckers are a large bird and make a lot of noise even on a good day. The local pair is nesting, I believe, in a tree at the back of the cabin. On Saturday morning I heard the woodpeckers fussing and screeching, which isn’t unusual. Something always sets them off. They return fire with scolds and screeches for a few minutes and then the perceived danger leaves and the forest returns to quiet. Except that this week the return to quiet part hasn’t happened.
With the woods so thick with leaves, it was hard to see what was going on at first, though I’ve caught glimpses of the birds swooping and looping in those rare moments when they are visible. And then on Saturday, I finally got to see what was going on. A second male pileated woodpecker is apparently trying to lure the female away or perhaps just hoping to extend his territory so that it overlaps with that of the nesting pair. In any event, the actions of the second male are destroying forest harmony around my cabin. Just when I think the dust is settling, male #2 drums on a tree, and that sets off the whole round of screeching and swooping yet again. Even the dogs notice.
Baby Dog, the self-appointed forest police force, is the worst. When the pileated woodpeckers really get going, she chimes in with her alarm barking. Her barking awakens Dog from his elderly slumber and then he joins in. Two barking dogs soon equals two howling dogs, and sometimes even the dogs half a mile away add to the chaos. Why I ever thought that living in the woods was peaceful is a thought I have been disabused of this week, that’s for sure.
Of course my photos today depict none of this. At least they look as though my forest is filled with peace and quiet.