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Doug Clark: Homeowner needs help silencing rite of spring

Tue., March 15, 2011

Ah, the coming of spring.

Could there possibly be a more glorious time of year?

As Shakespeare once penned: “When daisies pied, and violets blue, and lady-smocks all silver-white …”


Excuse me. As Shakespeare was saying: “And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue do paint the meadows with …”


Sorry. I can’t recite the immortal Bard of Avon when all I’m thinking about is an infernal bird.

A woodpecker, namely.

For days now, I’ve been putting up with this birdbrain who seems bent on ventilating Clark Manor.

So today I am turning to you readers for help in solving this avian dilemma. Prizes will be awarded. More on that later.

First, let me explain what’s going on.

The troubles began the other morning. I was sitting in the den, sipping java with my lovely wife, Sherry, when all of a sudden …


“Is that your stomach?” asked Sherry.

It soon became clear that this clatter was not connected to my need for breakfast.

“We’re being woodpeckered!” I hollered.

The noise sounded like it was emanating from high up on the west side of the house. So far I haven’t been able to catch the dirty bird in the jackhammer act. Every time I go outside to look, the critter stops.

But I know he’s up there somewhere, giving me the bird.

I have to do something. We had woodpecker problems on the east side of the house about 20 years ago. The thing left a fist-sized hole in the siding.

So on Monday morning I dialed the Washington State University/Spokane County extension office.

I call the extension people whenever I’m being attacked by nature, which seems to be quite often.

You may recall my previous problems with ants and box elder bugs.

Woodpeckers are even scarier.

“This can cause major damage to my home as well as my psyche,” I told Joan Nolan, who answered the phone.

“I didn’t know Doug Clark had a psyche,” she quipped.

These people don’t take me seriously anymore.

Nolan is a Master Gardener, which means she knows a lot more about mulch than she does about woodpeckers.

I don’t want to sound critical, but her advice was for me to put up a nice birdhouse with a welcome sign on it.

My lack of enthusiasm must have shown. Nolan transferred me to another Master Gardener, who got right down to the nitty-gritty.

“The poor guy’s trying to find a girlfriend,” said Larry Romero.

What? You mean this is all about sex?

Exactly, said Romero. It’s the “birds” part of the ol’ birds and bees.

To paraphrase: my horny woodpecker is pecking away in hopes his noise will attract a booty call. What an old-fashioned method of communication. This woodpecker should just get a Facebook account like the rest of the planet.

I mean, come on. We’re talking about a bird. The thing should already know everything there is about how to tweet.

I’ve heard that hanging up plastic owls near the area peck-festation will sometimes scare Mr. Woodpecker away.

From what Larry told me, hanging up one of those porn shop plastic love dolls might be better.

The neighbors would love that.

I won’t be hanging anything, of course. My old home is three stories tall. I don’t have a ladder that would get me even close to where my feathered fiend has been a-pounding.

I suppose I could hire a hit man. But then I’d need to get out of town and establish an alibi for when the whacking was going down.

That kind of thing always backfires. Look at where it got that old bat, Ruth Coe.

No. I need some better ideas.

That’s why I’m turning to you, my interactive think tank. Send me your best woodpecker-evicting ideas via the contact information below. Prizes will go to the most creative, amusing or even workable suggestions.

Come on. Don’t let a silly woodpecker have the last cartoon laugh.

“Heh-heh-heh, ha haw!”

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at


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