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Doug Clark: Readers aim attacks at bird, columnist

Thu., March 17, 2011

Two days ago I asked readers to solve my woodpecker woes.

Unfortunately, Howard Kent decided to help.

“Perhaps a life-size photo of your mug attached to the inflicted area of your domicile might scare off the peckerwood as well as most other living creatures within a 500-foot radius,” wrote Kent, who also added a safety tip.

“Do not leave the photo up too long as you do not want to encourage drive-by shootings from city councilmen.”

Why, thank you, Howard. While your method may not work on the bird, it has certainly chased away my self-esteem.

Oh, well. I did ask for it.

In fact, so much avian advice has fluttered in (through phone calls, e-mails and even a snail mail), that I am now up to my topknot in woodpecker relief remedies.

Before we get to more of the wisdom, allow me to recap.

For the past several mornings, my lovely wife, Sherry, and I have been victimized by the incessant TATTA-TATTA-TATTA sound of a woodpecker pecking high upon our home. If this continues, I fear Clark Manor will be known as Clarks’ Pile O’Kindling.

Besides ruining our abode, the pecking could dislodge my already tenuous grip on reality.

My only problem now is deciding which woodpecker deterrent to choose. As promised, I’ll be sending prizes to the wizards who appear in today’s column.

• Russ Aaron claims that my troublesome bird is not a woodpecker per se, but a “flicker.”

What a coincidence. More than once I have referred to the tapping twit as “you annoying little (#%#$!)er.”

Flicker’s close enough, I guess.

Aaron suggests that I nail up a toilet paper roll near the peck site as “a swinging obstacle.”

I’m sorry. But listening to this squatter is one thing. I’m not about to supply it with Charmin.

• Jani (no last name) has offered to let me borrow her two Shih-Tzu doggies.

“Put them in a room on the inside of the wall the bird is hacking at and they will bark continually when the bird starts pecking.”

Let me get this straight, Jani. You want me to add two yapping mutts to my one-woodpecker menagerie?

Apparently Jani thinks I’m dumber than a chew toy.

• Dale Ball’s voice mail message did not contain any helpful solutions. He did, however, recite the following poem:

“Woodpecker pecked on a hemlock knot.

“He pecked and pecked till his (maleness) got hot.”

Dale, you dirty bird!

• Here’s how Alice Williams deals with a woodpecker: Grab a broom and start tapping on the ceiling with the handle. “It startles him and he goes away,” she says. “After two or three days of this, he gives up and looks elsewhere.”

Then it’s on to Home Depot for putty and paint to fix all the broom-handle dents.

• According to wildlife experts, my pecking woodpecker is a male looking for a mate.

Mike offers the following relationship advice: “You acquire a really fat, ugly female woodpecker and her even fatter, uglier mother to hang around the male and scream and nag his fuzzy little ass till he can’t stand it anymore and flies as far away as he possibly can from them!”

I don’t want to get too deep here, but something tells me that Mike has “issues.”

• “I would be happy to send you an unlimited supply of magpies from Rosalia,” writes Carol Sims. “They are the roaches of the fowl world, and are quite capable of driving every other bird species away.”

I’d rather take Jani’s bark machines.

• Chris Caraway and Carl Reymers wrote separate e-mails that shared the same violent thought.

“A .22 rifle should reach three stories, no problem,” wrote Chris. “Get a Ruger 10-22 and a good scope,” wrote Carl.

Oh, yeah. I bet the Spokane cops would come a-running to a “Clark’s out in his yard with a gun” call.

• Dousing the woodpecker area with ammonia-laced water was a method favored by several readers. “One good blast and he’ll be thinking of anything but attracting a mate,” wrote Dale Hensley.

Interesting. But isn’t chemical warfare outlawed by the Geneva Convention?

• “Hey, Doug,” wrote George Bick. “Two words to solve your problem: Vinyl siding.”

Hey, George. Two more words about covering my 1909 home with plastic: Bite Me!

• I guess I’ll stop with an amusing tale from Skip.

“Woodpeckers, like us, need sleep, thus opening a dark window of opportunity,” he wrote.

The pecker in question had actually drilled a 3-inch hole through the siding of Skip’s house and made a nest.

“With the stealth of a woodpecker assassin,” Skip says, he put on a pair of leather gloves, climbed up into his attic and grabbed the dozing bird and stuck it in a dog carrier.

But don’t worry. We have a happy ending. Next morning Skip says he put the cage in his car and took his feathered prisoner on a long drive …

To his ex-wife’s house.

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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