PAT NEAL: The woodpecker war, continued

THEY SAY THERE’S no place like home, that home is where your heart is and every man’s home is his castle. All of which may be very true.

Unless you are living with woodpeckers. Then your home may be a castle but it is under siege from an enemy that has every intention of driving you out of your home and out of your mind thinking up ways to battle these pernicious invaders.

Make no mistake: Once the woodpeckers set their sights on your home, your life just took a turn for the worse.

Forget going to bed early. Woodpeckers work until dark. Forget sleeping in late. Woodpeckers start pounding at the break of day.

Between the hours of dawn and dark, the woodpeckers attack when you least expect it, leaving you with a house that has more holes in it than one of my fish stories.

In short, woodpeckers can ruin your life.

Take this column, for instance. It would have been an enlightening, amusing, culturally uplifting story that gave one hope instead of a depressing tale of a plague of woodpeckers and how they ruined my life.

In last week’s episode, I had discovered the woodpeckers had drilled a hole about the size of a grapefruit in the wall of my home and littered the lawn with shower of pink insulation in the process.

They replaced the insulation with bundles of sticks and moss with which they would construct a nest.

Over my dead body! I couldn’t shoot the woodpeckers. That is illegal and besides I would blow a hole in the wall. I couldn’t set fire to the woodpeckers as that would burn my own house down.

Instead, I had to match wits with the woodpecker and the woodpeckers won.

It was hardly a fair contest. I was outnumbered by the woodpeckers two to one. Then outmaneuvered at every turn by these conniving creatures.

It seemed foolproof enough. I had planned to wait until the woodpeckers flew into the nest in the wall and catch them with a long-handled fish net when they flew out, then drive these horrible birds to Eastern Washington for a well-deserved vacation.

One day after many hours in the blind I saw a woodpecker fly into the wall. I sprang into action. Sneaking up to a position just beneath the nest I pounded on the wall to scare the woodpecker hoping it would fly out into the waiting net. Just then the phone rang.

Now, I hate telephones almost as much as I hate woodpeckers but that’s a guide’s life.

When the phone rings you have to answer it or give up eating. During the confusion I dropped the phone.

When I bent over to pick it up there was a whooshing sound as the woodpecker exited the nest and disappeared into the underbrush.

It was a robo-call! I thought those were illegal.

The woodpecker had won round one. I retreated to reconnoiter the situation.

The woodpeckers were affecting my well-being. I couldn’t sleep without having nightmares of woodpeckers beating on the house, and when I awoke, there was a woodpecker drilling a new hole in the house.

Out on the lawn like freshly fallen snow, a new layer of pink insulation told me the woodpeckers shifted their attack from the north to the east wall.

I grabbed my fish net and waited until I was sure the woodpecker was inside its nest.

Opening the door, I was surprised by a pair of starlings that had taken over yesterday’s nest, the one the woodpeckers had abandoned.

That did it! I’m moving to Eastern Washington!


Pat Neal is a Hoh River fishing guide and “wilderness gossip columnist” whose column appears here every Wednesday.

He can be reached at 360-683-9867 or by email via patnealwild

More in Opinion

PAT NEAL: Sasquatch Days are here

IT’S TIME ONCE again for the third annual Sasquatch Days in Forks… Continue reading

PAT NEAL: The story of ‘Lightning Boldt’

“LIGHTNING BOLDT,” IS a biography of Judge George H. Boldt by John… Continue reading

PAT NEAL: The best Mother’s Day present

MOTHER’S DAY IS coming up. I had a great mother. I know… Continue reading

PAT NEAL: The best Arbor Day ever

HOW WAS YOUR Arbor Day? Traditionally celebrated on the last Friday in… Continue reading

OUR VIEW: New York Times syndication service to add in-depth reporting

While we take great pride in being your source for local news… Continue reading

Pat Neal, left, and former Peninsula Daily News editor and publisher John Brewer. (Pat Neal)
PAT NEAL: Free speech isn’t free

There were giants in the land. We lost one last week. John… Continue reading

The Peninsula Daily News office building, at 305 W. First St. in Port Angeles, will soon be on the commercial real estate market. But staff will relocate to another Port Angeles building in the coming months.
OUR VIEW: We’re moving, but we will remain in community

THIS OLD BUILDING, steeped in history, whispers stories of bygone days. Within… Continue reading

PAT NEAL: The first salmon

THE BLOOMING OF the salmonberries marks a change in the season. In… Continue reading

PAT NEAL: Spill some salmon here

IT WAS ANOTHER tough week in the news. The bad news was… Continue reading

PAT NEAL: The daylight digs

THE END OF steelhead fishing season was the day my universe came… Continue reading

PAT NEAL: Twilight forever and ever

THERE’S A DISTURBING trend in modern journalism for reporters to use fleeting… Continue reading

PAT NEAL: A question of flowers

THANK YOU FOR reading this. Sometimes I think that if you didn’t… Continue reading