I’ve written about Heathcliff, the Pileated Woodpecker and how no one else heard him but me for quite a long time.
(one gets use to that in my line of work; hearing, and seeing, and feeling, and smelling, and tasting, and sensing what others are oblivious to. I take it as a gift. Helps me learn patience)
I didn’t know Heathcliff had a buddy.
Who favors Stevie Wonder.
Not that I blame him.
I favor Stevie Wonder, too.
My favoring started early and received a major boost my first time through college. A friend got Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life and Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (both and others which I immortalize in a work-in-progress, The Shaman (it’s okay, i asked them if i could (do remember, i’m a fiction author))) and I was hooked.
All were impressive, but Wonder…
Not just the variety on the double-album (this was back in ’76. Nineteen-76) but the joy in his voice. If not joy, the pathos, the emotion, the soul, the energy.
No wonder Peter the Pileated Woodpecker loves him.
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?