April 17th, 2007



Dusk deepened and the woodpeckers still squawked. I think there were three or four of them involved in the event, but it was dominated by a pair that were perched near the top of a pine tree next door. The other birds were in nearby trees, or one bird was moving between two trees but was masked by the woods so I couldn't see. In fact, I couldn't see any of the birds, but I certainly heard them. Their chattering went on for a good twenty minutes while I was taking a few turns around the back yard.

I have no idea what the fracas was about. It was already going on when I got out there. It may have involved mating and perhaps a competition between two or more males (or females—I'm not up on acorn woodpecker mating behavior.) I'm sure there was some heat in the squawks, but even when acorn woodpeckers fight (I've seen them attack one another, briefly, when they've bickered over relative position on the utility pole where they sometimes take refuge during storms) they sound as though they're chuckling. I always enjoy listening to them. Tonight, they finally quit their noise and flew off to bed just before the last light deserted the cloudy sky.

It became very quiet once the woodpeckers departed, as the crickets aren't chirping tonight and only the more distant of the frogs are croaking. It's probably too wet for the crickets, but I have no idea why the nearby frogs are silent. There were several hours of light rain this afternoon, and the landscape is pretty well soaked. I'd expect the frogs to be singing with delight. I am, but nobody can hear me since I'm doing it inside my head. I don't want to disturb the serenity.