Wake Up Call

By Diane DeVaughn Stokes

There are so many happy songs about summer, and why not? Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are filled with cookouts, boating, swimming, sprawling out on the beach with a good book, ice cream, friends and relatives coming to visit – and did I mention ice cream? It really is the best time of the year!

But all the songs of summer are not always happy. Let me tell you about one of them. Everyone who knows me knows that I am a nature lover.  My nieces call me “Aunt Snow White!” I especially love all the birds that I have nurtured so lovingly with specialty birdseed in my own yard from the Painted Buntings, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Robins, Orioles and even Green Herons.

However, last summer there was a manic woodpecker that found his happy place in the rim of our chimney. For some reason, he loved pecking on the metal piece so erratically that he must have thought he was making a lovely song. Yet, he definitely was not, especially at five o’clock every morning.

His chronic drumming on the rim would rock even the heaviest of sleeper out of bed, sounding like bullets exploding from a cannon. He not only scared the crap out of us, but the two cats and dog were “alarmed” by the disruptiveness of this perverted bird!

Oops, I forgot to tell you that we have a two-sided fireplace. One side opens to the living room/den and the other opens to our bedroom. Now you can understand how badly we wanted this bird gone.

We were patient. My husband and I tolerated it for over a week. But when a week turned into a month, we had enough of this early morning reveille!

I called the pest control folks, but they had no dealings with birds. I called Clemson Extension and they said to hang in there, he would probably be gone after mating season. I even talked to a chimney sweep who deals with birds nesting in the chimney, but he had never heard of a woodpecker pecking metal rather than wood. I called the Critter Chaser too, but he must have thought I was a lunatic and never called me back.

After six weeks of the most annoying wake-up calls, we were fit to be tied. My husband Chuck, a former Boy Scout, who has always been a very out of the box thinker (why of course, ‘cause he married me), decided to tackle this menace head-on. Out came the ladder and up on the rooftop he went with a very odd but practical solution. Chuck placed our chicken-wire crab trap upside down over the opening of the chimney.  Then we held our breath ‘till morning.

Bingo! No more steel drumming woodpecker song for us. It worked. Our neighbors laughed and mocked us for having such a decorative item on our roof, but we were sleeping like babies now so we did not care about their ridicule.

How long did we leave it up there, you ask? For the rest of the summer! We were taking no chances that Woody might return.

So if any of y’all ever hear the roaring song of a psychotic woodpecker at five am, just come borrow our crab-trap.

Trust me friends, it works like a dream!

About this writer

  • Diane DeVaughn Stokes

    Diane DeVaughn Stokes

    Diane DeVaughn Stokes is the President of Stages Video Productions, Host and Producer for TV show “Inside Out” on HTC, and EASY Radio Host weekdays noon to 3pm. Her passions include food, travel and theater. You can reach her at diane@stagesvideo.com

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