Is someone drilling directly into my head, or is it just time to wake up in the desert?

Posted on July 2, 2008. Filed under: Musings, Travel |

I think we were having a woodpecker convention on my roof today. I don’t know if woodpeckers are just not the brightest birds in the flock, or if it benefits their beaks to attempt to drill into solid metal, but there are times I wish my chimney was more substantial than just the steel pipe that it is.

Those ‘peckers get up early in the summer—4 or 5 a.m. I do not. Or at least that is not my preference. There have been times when I’m just getting to bed about 3 or 4. (Perhaps I should resume that practice)πŸ˜‰ After having watched a television documentary containing a small amount of rapid machine gun fire last night, you can imagine how I felt being awoken thus.

Usually, there will only be one woodpecker on my roof, but today, for some reason, my usual one told all her friends about my tasty metal pipe. Ah well. After my heart rate returned to normal I was able to sleep a little more.

Good thing, too, because the first of the desert monsoon thunderstorms hit in the afternoon. These used to be quite predictable, coming at 3 or 4 p.m., and causing very heavy rain for a brief period. This is how most of the local vegetation prefers to get watered: long periods of intense sun, followed by brief, heavy rain. The wash behind my house can turn from a dry gulch to a raging (relatively) river within 15 minutes. It’s quite a sight. The monsoons haven’t been as predictable of late, due to shifting weather patterns (I’m told), so it was good, and refreshing, to get the rain plus an almost instant 15 degree temperature drop. One of the odd things about this storm was that for a few minutes there was hail hitting the ground along with the rain! Hail, when the temp. had been over 100? (40C). It was small hail, and didn’t last long. This can happen when it’s very windy and the moisture is blown up into the clouds. Or something like that.

After the rain stopped, I went for a nice walk ’round the ‘hood, when suddenly a large rabbit streaked across my path. We have many bunnies here, and usually I just see them sedately munching on something or other, but this bunny was on a mission. I soon saw why. Right after the rabbit’s passage, a coyote trotted off after it, looking for an early dinner. I crossed my fingers for the bunny’s sake (they’re so cute!) but I know the coyote has to eat, too—it’s part of the cycle of life. I don’t know the fate of either animal, as they both soon disappeared into the scrub.

It’s odd to see a coyote in the daytime, but it does sometimes happen after a long period of high heat with no rain. I suppose our recent rain flushed out the rabbits, and this trickster (as he’s known in native lore) decided to avail himself of the opportunity.

I know I write a lot about Arizona, but when I look out the window, that’s what I see! These are just a few of the “natural” occurrences around my home. I’m off for a nap soon, to make up for some of the sleep lost to the woodpeckers. Perhaps I shall go out later to gaze at the stars, observe some bats, and do my best to avoid the rattlesnakes.

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10 Responses to “Is someone drilling directly into my head, or is it just time to wake up in the desert?”

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What a lot of wild animals you have in your area! It must be amazing to be able to see coyotes in the wild. The woodpeckers sound like they’re a bit of a headache, though! They don’t sound particularly intelligent; it’s quite bizarre, trying to drill into a steel chimney! Perhaps they’re just sharpening their beaks or something.

I love hearing about other places. Arizona is so different. I’ve never been anywhere like that. But the snake thing is a big turn off. I think I’d faint if I saw a rattler. They are near your house?

When I saw Woodpecker I thought you had met a mate of mine. His nickname was Pecker, firstly because his surname was Wood and that he had this very undesirable habit if head-butting things – and people! He wasn’t the shiniest object on the shelf!

The one thing I hate about Coyotes is that they tore into the garbage bin outside – if there ever was a need for a person to have a gun!

You have wildlife like we do, Muse – and the problem with that is they are wild – why can’t animals be like people?

Oh wait…scrub that one.

Just love the woodpecker.
When I first came to Germany I heard what turned out to be a woodpecker behind our place, but coming from North America, I didn’t recognise it as such at first. Instead of the machine-gun rat-a-tat-tat it was more like a pock!..pock!..pock!.. sound (wish I could describe it better than that, but haven’t heard one for a few weeks.πŸ™‚

Hey, B0bby, I thought that too, at first, but they seem to hit the chimney head-on, and really hard! I’d think they’re more likely to dull their beaks doing this. And they’re supposed to be using those beaks to find little bugs in tree trunks.πŸ˜• Yes we do have our share of critters. In addition to the ones mentioned we have Javelina (a large, pig-like rodent!), mountain lions, prairie dogs, and wildcats. Most of them don’t come near humans very often, and read on as I reassure thebeadden about the snakes!

BD, I probably shouldn’t have put in that bit about the snakes. We do have them, but in the several years I’ve lived here I’ve never known or heard directly about anyone who was a victim (not including a curious dog down the lane, poor thing. He survived, though). The rattlers really don’t want to encounter us any more than we do them, and will only strike if they feel cornered. They mostly sleep in the daytime, and prefer to be away from us humanoids when they do. I occasionally hear of someone spotting one in the garden, particularly if it has a lot of lush plantings (good for hiding). If this happens we call the fire department who has special trapping equipment and can remove them unharmed and relocate them way out in the desert. That’s the policy here, and we generally respect our creatures. Also, contrary to popular belief, a reasonably fit human can easily outrun a rattlesnake, so unless it’s in immediate striking distance, which rarely happens in cities and towns, we know to just run like he!! and call for removal. Honestly, we don’t see them slithering down the boulevard; they’d stand no chance on city streets, and generally know better. As for the mountain lions and wildcats, they do come closer if their food supply is diminished—we hear about that on the news. I had a neighbor who noticed a young wildcat had decided her patio lounger was just perfect for his afternoon nap. He returned every afternoon for a couple of weeks, and she just didn’t use her patio during that time. Of course, most of us know better than to crash through open desert and brush at night (most of the creatures are nocturnal) with no lights and wearing sandals and shorts. Anyone who does so is taking a bit of a risk.πŸ™‚

Well, Will, unless your mate has taken to perching on Arizona rooftops and head-butting chimneys, I don’t think we’re talking of your Pecker. As it were.πŸ˜‰ So you have them there coyotes and such, too? Must remember to keep the lid on! Our neighborhood trashcans were designed to be (nearly) coyote proof. A pack of them would have to charge one together in order to knock it over and get in. Indeed, best not to go down the road of animal vs. human characteristics! You’ve caused another attack of FOOCS (Falling Out Of Chair Syndrome—what did you think it meant?)πŸ˜€

Hi Ian, good to see you! Thanks! That’s interesting about the different sound your German woodpeckers make. When I was searching for a picture to include in the post, I discovered there are many different kind, more than I’d thought. I picked one that looked the most like the ones we have, but I was surprised at how many different sizes and beak shapes were included in the woodpecker family. And now here you are telling us they sound different, too. Happy belated Canada Day to you!

I had never heard of a Javelina. Aren’t they odd little creatures? A face only a mother could love.

Thank goodness the rattlers are seldom seen! I know we are supposed to love all creatures, but that’s asking too much of me.πŸ™‚

You must have googled the porky fellas, BD!πŸ™‚ The little babies are kind of, almost, sorta cute. Maybe. They travel together in families, usually, and that’s kind of fun to see off on a road. You don’t want to encounter their teeth, though, and adults can be as large as a schnauzer! Yes, we’re always subliminally aware of rattlesnakes and scorpions, but we’re not required to think about them a lot.πŸ™‚

Yes, I searched (ewwww, never google)the Javelina. You’re right the baby ones are almost cute. πŸ™‚

Ohhh, how un-PC of me, BD! And me making sure never to “Xerox” something, but only to “photocopy” it! (I like Google pretty much, actually, but agree it’s not a verb.)πŸ˜€

[…] hours, right? …Not quite. This doesn’t happen every day, but often enough: The tale of the woodpecker and the chimney. After that, I’m pretty much awake, or if not, a neighbor has chosen the coolest time of day […]


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