Spring has arrived in Utah. The dwarf irises that Carol has planted in the front yard are in full bloom-- though nothing else is, just yet. Days are getting a little warmer. Yesterday, on the way home from dropping Paige off at school, my daughter Heather had to stop for a covey of quail that were crossing the street. The Canada geese all seem to be on the move again.

02xbirding-w_1But for us the most audible sign of spring is the return of our resident woodpecker. Woodpeckers feed on insects that burrow into trees, especially dead trees. They listen carefully for the sound of an insect munching on wood fibers, drill through the outer bark with their tough beaks, and find an early breakfast. However, this drilling is not only for food. Apparently, female woodpeckers are impressed by a guy who can obtain a healthy feast, so the rapid tap-tap-tapping is also a sort of a mating call. The louder, faster, and harder the male can drill, the more attractive he is to the ladies, or so it appears.

Anyway, the woodpecker in our neighborhood has developed an interesting twist. Rather than drilling in dead trees, he has discovered that drilling against the galvanized sheet metal flashing on our chimney will produce a lot more racket than any nearby wooden surface. So every morning we are wakened by what sounds like an impact wrench held against the sheet metal of the chimney duct. It might be really annoying if it wasn't so funny!

I don't know yet if this little woodpecker has a girlfriend or not. Maybe the girls don't necessarily equate drilling metal with the ability to provide for a family. But I have to admire his innovative use of the resources at hand. And his hard-headedness. I hope he does well!