Monday, 23 April 2012

Me vs. the Northern Flicker

For the most part, I take a “live and let live” approach to dealing with the various species of wildlife around my house.  I’m not too worried about the two pigeons roosting under the eaves of my porch and I don’t think twice about the assorted birds nesting in my barn.  But I gotta say, I’m getting tired of the Northern Flicker that has decided it wants to live in my dining room.

A week ago, she(?) was banging away on the back wall of my house.  Now part of my house is stone, but the majority of it is wood.  Board and batten panelling to be exact with lots of room for little bugs to winter over which is what I thought it was going after.  At that time, I didn’t worry too much – after all, if the birds want to help get the bugs out of the wood, I’m good with that.   But then I noticed that this bird – which is truly lovely by the way – kept  coming back to the same spot.  So I thought I should go and make sure I didn’t have termites or something of the sort.

Nothing prepared me for finding a 3” hole in the back of my house with numerous “test holes” scattered around the back wall and a great deal of fibreglass insulation strewn around on the grass.

After consultation with my husband, we decided we needed to fix this so we filled the hole with that expandable spray foam insulation.  Then, because I thought the bird was so pretty, we put up a birdhouse over the hole she had made. 

Birdie had different ideas and was of the opinion that the house we had gone to the effort to build, paint and mount for her was substandard so she banged in a new hole.  Right beside the first one.  So we filled that one, painted it over and went to work the next day.  While watching TV that night my husband made a snare out of fishing line....

You know how this is going to end right – there was another damn hole in the wall of my house the next day and nothing in the snare.  By this time, the ladder had become a semi-permanent fixture in the backyard, my husband had a twitch in his eye and I’m fairly certain that we are single-handedly responsible for any rise in the stock price of spray foam insulation. 

I no longer consider it “a pretty bird”.  It is now “that damn bird” and it had to go.  It’s telling that I actually condoned my husband getting out his shotgun and going after it. 

He missed.  Yes – he missed the house and all the windows too.

The next day, the bird was back.  He missed again.

The next day was my son’s birthday and he (how appropriate is this??) got a pellet gun that doesn’t make nearly as much noise as a shotgun.  So the two of them went out with the pellet gun to try and persuade the bird that she really wanted to live somewhere else.  The violence in this neighbourhood is no place for babies.  They’d been out for maybe 10 minutes when with much fanfare, they returned to say that they’d managed to hit her but she flew away.  Half an hour later, the bird was back.  They shot her again with a plastic pellet  and again she flew away. 

I’m honestly not sure how many times they shot this damn bird with pointy plastic pellets but it’s been 24 hours and she hasn’t been back.  All of a sudden, I understand Woody Woodpecker cartoons and I can tell you with a great deal of confidence that there is a whole lot of truth there.

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