May 18, 2013
Written by Jack Sanders
Thursday, 29 December 2011 14:13
Eliot Riskin of Riverside enjoyed last week’s BirdNotes about woodpeckers. “My house, too, proudly bears the ravages of a hungry friend, which got me around to the following rip-off of Poe’s ‘The Raven’ — thought you — or your readers — might enjoy it.”
Once upon a Sunday morning, watching clips of Starr and Hornung,
on some pre-game show before, the Eagles’ game at Baltimore,
while I nervously sat rocking, suddenly there came a knocking,
jolting, shocking, rat-tat knocking, high above my backyard door.
‘’Tis the winter wind’, I muttered, ‘high above my backyard door —
only this, and nothing more.’
Back to clips of Starr and Hornung, filmed some ancient autumn morning,
when the Packers reeked of legend, dripped and drenched in football lore,
famous for their fearsome blocking — came again the rat-tat knocking,
jolting, shocking, rat-tat knocking, ever louder than before.
‘’tis not the winter wind’, I muttered, ‘high above my backyard door —
’tis much too loud, ’tis something more.’
Ah, distinctly I remember, walking out that bleak December
down the path that wanders past the stately sycamore,
up the knoll where it did wind around the back where I would find
the source of all this knocking high above my backyard door.
‘’Tis not the winter wind’, I found, ‘as I concluded heretofore —
’tis but a bird, and nothing more.
A giant, monstrous-billed woodpecker, bird of birds and famed house wrecker
wreaking havoc on the siding high above my back yard door,
drilling holes, some two-inch ’round, where ere delicious bugs are found,
‘Sir,’ said I, ‘or Madam, truly your cessation I implore;
‘Of course’ it said most pleasantly, ‘I’ll stop and peck no more —
but when I’m done, and not before’.
Today, I hear no knocking high above my backyard door.
No jolting, shocking, rat-tat knocking, like I heard before.
The bird is gone, the holes are gone, as is the second floor,
as is the first, as is the porch, as is the backyard door.
What’s left is just my story.
And me, and nothing more.
First Sunday Bird Walks at Greenwich Point (Tod’s Point), Jan. 1, Feb. 5, March 4, 9 to 11 a.m., spotting scopes available, free, sponsored by Wild Wings, Bruce Museum and Audubon Greenwich, for info, Meredith Sampson, 203-637-9822.
Coastal Birding at the Edith Read Sanctuary, shorebirds and more at Rye, N.Y., Saturday, Jan. 7, 8 to noon, $15, Audubon Greenwich, 613 Riversville Road, RSVP 203-869-5272 x230.
Lifestyles of the Birds of Winter, family-friendly class about how birds like chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers survive in winter, Saturday, Jan. 14 , 1 to 2:30 p.m., Audubon Greenwich, 613 Riversville Road, RSVP 203-869-5272 x230.
Eagle Viewing Trips, on Connecticut River, Feb. 11 through March 18, 9, 11:30 and 2 on weekends, and 10 and 1 on Thursdays, $40, Connecticut Audubon, 1-800-996-8747
Cuba bird study, trip with Connecticut Audubon, survey work involved, March 3-15, 860-767-0660
Copyright 2011 by Jack Sanders. Send sightings or comments to: jackfsanders [at sign] gmail.com, or to Bird Notes, Box 1019, Ridgefield, CT 06877. If you need help identifying a bird, try your local nature center. If you find an injured bird, call wildlife rehabilitator Darlene Wimbrow of Redding, 203-438-0618, Wildlife in Crisis of Weston, 203-544-9913, or Wild Wings of Greenwich, 203-637-9822. The columnist’s website is www. sandersbooks. com.
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