Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Under Attack!

My house is under attack. Really. We live close to the woods. We live in Louisiana. Ergo, we're always under attack. Today it's a pair of woodpeckers. Don't know which variety, because I didn't bother to look them up in the "Bird Watchers' Guide". This pair, however, is NOT of the pileated woodpecker type, though we've had our share of them over the years. Neither are they the thought-to-be-extinct ivory billed woodpeckers. That much I know! But as to their particular family or genus or whatever the designation, I dunno. Could be flickers, but I don't think so. (We did have one of those roosting in our attic when we first moved into this house some twenty plus years ago.) I've actually had to shoo off a multitude of different woodpeckers over the years. Some, I believe, are the redheaded ones (the actual name of the woodpeckers, I believe), they're a little smaller than flickers, if I'm not mistaken. And are very pretty! The Pileated birds are HUGE! And can make an awful racket--hence the silly noise of Woody the Woodpecker's famous cry. (Not particularly identical.)

We've had black capped chickadees nesting (more than once) in the wall directly behind my #2 daughter's bed (some years ago when she was in grade school and living at home.) We've had some kind of wrens nesting in the garage over the years--and currently. Plus a constant variety of other birds in and out of the yard, trees, and bushes. Things like bluebirds (one of my favorites), robins, mocking birds, Cardinals, blue jays, Cedar wax wings (we think), scarlet tanagers, a few hawks, and I can't think (or don't know) of all the rest. Oh! I almost forgot! We saw either a painted or an indigo bunting! (Two or more seasons.) And, of course, humming birds. We've had bunches of them--probably because we feed them.

Other critters we've had that "attacked" our house were swarms of bees. (Wish we had our own hive--except that my husband is highly allergic to bee and wasp stings.) Wood bees (that bore into the wood siding by our front door). Various frogs, toads, lizards, skinks which we've found IN the house at various times. Add to that any number of insects, spiders etc. (Including dastardly termites, carpenter ants, and fire ants.)

We also have a bunch of squirrels. They're always pretty entertaining--unless they're scrabbling on your house on the outside wall of the shower while you're inside the shower! Oh! Lest I forget . . . on a few nights when my husband was working half-way across the country from me, I heard something GNAWING on my house at about 2 AM! And my bedroom is on the second floor! It totally spooked me! It happened night after night. (That was about 10 years ago--the first time.) It's happened within the last few months again. Each time it turned out to be a flying squirrel. I suppose that since our house has a lot of cedar siding, the local fauna think it's up for grabs!

Oh, yeah. I just remembered the snakes, too! Yes, when my son was about 1 1/2 or 2, a ground rattler made it's way into our laundry room. Fun. Since I didn't shriek and scream while summoning him, my husband thought I was joking about the snake that needed his attention so I could keep our ever inquisitive toddler out of harm's way. And then there was, for many years, a very large snake skin left on our front steps each spring. A huge garden or king snake was spotted by our ever alert cats (and older inquisitive son) as it slithered next to the neighbors' fence. After that, we never have seen it or it's empty skin. But, there was, one day, some kind of "friendly" snake lurking by the driveway when I got home. It was kind of wrapped around the base of a juniper bush, it's head raised a little, sitting like that for at least a hour w/o moving. Once I found a little copper head, dead--or mostly dead, on the driveway several years ago. I think one of the cats got to it. So, there's never a dull moment around here! Wildlife on every side!


Alison said...

Sounds like you live in an amazing place! I love being surrounded by nature. Some close encounters I'm not particularly fond of - I can't say I would have been quite so calm upon finding a snake in the laundry!
The bird life sounds beautiful and the squirrels sounds so cute.
Thanks for reminding me to appreciate the wondrous wildlife we live with :)

Pencil Writer said...

Thank you alison. I loved reading about Joey and your precious, precocious daughters. What a party you'll have for years to come. My daughters are 32, 31 and 27(today). They are so much fun to hang out with! I always stay up too late when we're around each other! But hey, do it while you can, right?

Alison said...

Wow! Happy giving birth day to you!
Daughters are so awesome, aren't they?
I love your blog and your comments, you always remind me to appreciate the little things :)

jeanie said...

Oh wow - and with all that nature comes the price tag, huh?

We get insects - paper wasps, mud hornets, mosquitoes and spiders. Gotta love those spiders. (I mostly do - well, except for the really ugly ones).

We also get plenty of birds - not a lot of variety, but a lot of birds.