Monday, January 16, 2017

Cedar? I Wasn't Even Lookin' For Her!

Sunday morning, I stepped out on the back porch deck to admire Mother Nature's recent handiwork.


Okay. I actually stepped out to throw some garbage over the rail. You can do that in the country, you know. It's not like there are classy ladies with parasols strolling along below, with their gentlemen chivalrously giving them the position next to the building, so the garbage won't land on their head. We don't need to go into the type of refuse I was tossing. That's a story for the future.


I had to be careful as I bellied up to the rail. The ice glaze had thawed some in the previous afternoon, and refrozen overnight. As I readied my refuse for rural recycling, I heard a noise. Huh. It was a thumping noise. Like somebody chopping wood. Fast. Hick was down at his cabin, having sworn to wait until the full melt to trim broken limbs, and he uses a chainsaw. This noise was closer.

Then movement caught my eye. Aha! It was one of Hick's chickens. Pecking at something. Sounded like a frozen snowball. I squinted and tried to see what that fowl was fiddling with. Wait a minute...that was no fowl...that was a WOODPECKER! So I suppose I should have typed, "A ha ha HA ha!" But that would have been too much foreshadowing.


You have to look closely to see him/her (males and females look alike to us, though not to other woodpeckers, I'm sure). That's the extent of my phone camera zoom. But it's there all right. A massive red-headed woodpecker. Already had a good chunk of that fallen bark chipped away, and bare wood exposed. I guess it's hard to hold onto ice-coated tree trunks with your zygodactal feet (two-toes-forward and two-toes-backward) after an ice storm.

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If you're interested in bird feet, here's a good chart!

17 comments:

  1. I'll take your word that there is a bird in the picture.

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    1. Fair enough. I took your word for it that there were tomatoes when you said Ralph II/Topsy was giving birth. Because that closeup could have come from anywhere, you know!

      http://joeh-crankyoldman.blogspot.com/2016/07/tomato-update.html

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    2. That's NOT going to get you out of the essay assigned below in my reply to Kathy.

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  2. Bird charts are for bird brains. As a third grade teacher in a district that owns a 94-acre nature center, each year my students would have to work on "which beak goes with which bird food?" and "which pair of feet goes with which bird?"

    Riveting stuff. Every. Single. Year.

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    1. Dang, Madam! What are you, an anti-birdite?

      Your students NEEDED to know what bird feet look like. Just in case they ordered something in a Chinese restaurant in Italy...always good to know what you're being served.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4117550/Chinese-restaurant-accused-serving-human-FEET-diners-Italy-gruesome-image-rotting-flesh-posted-online-waiter.html

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  3. Interesting about bird feet. I know precious little about birds.

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    1. Now you know a precious little more!

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  4. Zygodactyl! My word, Val, your teaching days are not over yet!

    'Course you did spell it wrong but that's neither here nor there. Wait a minute. Do I doubt you? Maybe the CHART spelled it wrong.

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    1. You can take Val out of teaching, but you can't take teaching out of Val!

      I thought it looked wrong, too, because we had a picture of a baby in our biology book with six fingers, and the genetics of polydactyly. So I was looking for a "y" in that syllable.

      I even double-checked with that link where it had a paragraph about birds' feet. I stuck with what the link said, because I figured some wiseacre would say, "Val, you spelled it wrong, the link says it's 'zygodactal.'"

      Admit it. You WOULD have, wouldn't you?

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    2. And no, the biology book didn't have six fingers, the baby did! Perhaps you are familiar with my unique way of phrasing things by now.

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  5. How much wood can woodpecker peck if the woodpecker starts pecking at your deck?

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    1. Don't wanna know! He won't be scared away by the glare from the metal grill spatula, because it's RUSTED! Hick uses a new set, and of course leaves this one there for perpetuity.

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  6. Big words about toes. I was looking at the impressive icicles on the rail. I did see a bit of red, but no bird. Do woodpeckers migrate south during winter?

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    1. Well...the red head WAS attached in the head area to the bird. I think the woodpeckers move a bit south in their habitat during winter, but it's not a migration per se.

      I hesitate to provide any more information, because I had no idea my readers were such NATURE HATERS! I've a good mind to assign everyone a 500-word essay on the redheaded woodpecker! At least YOU asked a pertinent question, so I'll only give you 150 words. Maybe some positive peer (not PEE-ER!) pressure from you can turn them around.

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  7. I'm pretty sure I ACTUALLY saw the bird!! Was is just about smack dab in the middle of the picture?

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    1. YES! It's not Waldo. It's not one of those pictures where you have to unfocus your eyes to see it. It's not Hattie's Hatpin from Reminisce magazine.

      You'll still have to do the essay, though. But I'll give you 150 words, too. Shh...don't let everyone else know. They'll claim I'm playing favorites.

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