My husband, who is disabled, spends a lot of time sitting in what I call the “sun room”, which was our screened in back porch. We had windows installed and heat/AC several years ago, converting it into another room. He’s a chain-smoker and I can’t deal with cigarette smoke in the house, despite being a former smoker (the worst kind of smoke nazis) myself, so this sun room is the compromise. He has a TV, coffee-maker, small refrigerator out there and I added a large electric air purifier. He uses the house phone intercom a lot to call me when he needs something.
Last week he called me and told me I needed to come out there, because he wanted to show me something. When I went out there he pointed to my willow tree and told me to look at the woodpecker near the top. I didn’t spot him at first.
My husband said, “How can you miss him, he’s the size of a B-52?”
I stepped out on the patio and then I saw him, because he had moved around the trunk of the tree. I wish I had had my cell phone in my hand to snap a photo of him. He was the largest woodpecker that I’ve ever seen – the size of a crow actually.
Later, my youngest daughter in Texas messaged me about some bald eagles in Florida hatching, which she thought I’d be interested in, because I had gotten engrossed with some other bald eagles hatching a few years back. I told her about our woodpecker sighting. After explaining what this woodpecker looked like with his red crest on his head and large size, she started sending info on a pileated woodpecker. That sure looks like the woodpecker in my willow tree. He hasn’t returned, but if he does I want to try and take a photo.
This woodpecker sighting spurred me to think back over the years to the many times I worked in my yard and heard a woodpecker pecking away in the woods behind my house. Often I thought that these Southern woodpeckers in the woods sure make a lot of noise for such small birds, because the sounds were more like a jack hammer, than a bird pecking. There were many times I heard branches falling after long pecking jags. When I mentioned this woodpecker and my thoughts about the loud sounds of woodpeckers in the woods for years to my sons, they said they had heard the very loud woodpeckers many times too.
All of sudden I wondered if large woodpeckers had been living here all along.
That got me thinking about how many times things might have been right in front of my nose (or ears), but I was too blind too see (or hear) them.
Trying to be open to new information seems like an endeavor worth pursuing. So, with 2017 fresh, I’ll strive not only to open my eyes and ears, but most of all my heart and mind to new information, ideas and ways of looking at the world.