I introduced Heathcliff, the Pileated Woodpecker last week. This week, different camera in hand, I offer more of that glorious bird.
As we’ve become more acquainted, Heathcliff has allowed us to call him “Captain Pill.”
You have to pay attention to learn their names.
Have to learn their language. Then there’s that whole translation thing.
Kind of Enigma and Japanese Code and Navajo CodeTalkers all rolled into one, that.
But no matter.
About fifteen, twenty years ago I told Susan I heard a new bird in our area. I didn’t hear it often, maybe twice in as many months, but its call was so different from what I was familiar with it stood out.
Nobody else heard it.
I attempted an imitation.
Didn’t go over well.
The call grew more frequent. Also more obvious. Others heard it, not as often as I but few spend as much time in the wood as I unless they’re born to it or work it.
Some said it was this bird or that bird. I knew different.
Then one day the call became obvious to all. I did my thing, tuning my ears (like focusing your eyes on something) and sure enough, there was a new bird in our area.
Pileated woodpeckers are an invasive species where I live.
“Invasive species” mean they weren’t here before.
Kind of like Europeans on Turtle Island.
Or man crossing Beringia.
Or hominids out of Africa.
Invasive Species. Kind’a depends on who was there first, doesn’t it?
I wrote last week that it’s great when two friends get together for a meal.
Sometimes it’s not quite like that.
Friends they may be, but sharzees they are not.
Case in point, The Wise Chipmunk.
Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor, to use the cliche.
But do note that Hyacinthe, despite an inspiring size difference, isn’t throwing her weight around (another cliche).
She may have been willing to share.
With her kits.
It’s great when two friends get together for a meal.
We’ve shared a few posts wherein The Wild gathers and parties down.
Sometimes they invite us to partake with them.
More often they prefer we serve them and then leave, be good help who is unnoticed.
Okay, not quite.
I’ve been at business lunches and dinners where the participants treated the help like…serfs, vassals, not even help so much as servants who god-forbid might get in the way.
Long before it became de rigueur and proper to ask your server’s name, it was part of our company’s ethos:
Respect people who know the name of their waiter or waitress.
It shows they value people.
But we were way ahead in our thinking.
In a lot of things.
That’s why we prefer The Wild.
The Wild is full of patterns.
Learn those patterns and you can be The Wild’s friend.
Over all our years of interacting with raccoons, we’ve come to know their patterns.
Especially those that aren’t listed on “official” websites as “raccoon behavior.”
But realistically, why should The Wild follow the guidelines of some “official” website?
We watch Hyacinthe and know what it means.
For now, she dines.