You know how the cardboard FedEx envelopes have this little tab you pull to open the package? Ever notice the perforation running along that tab? That is the back of my house. It has been perforated. By a woodpecker. Please deliver me from this new problem.
I realize a woodpecker attack is not a major disaster, but it certainly takes my attention away from spending time and money on other home repair problems. Like fixing that drippy faucet/repainting windowsills/caulking the shower/changing furnace filters/being a clueless homeowner in general. I am not happy with this relentless woodpecker.
I first became intimately aware of the feathered jackhammer species years ago. We were fortunate enough to have hired a get-the-squirrels-out-of-my-attic guy the very week we moved into our house. And by fortunate, I mean a woodpecker decided to pay us a visit while the squirrel whisperer’s business card was on the top of my money pit reference collection. This guy was well-versed on all wildlife nuisances. He was my on-call hero.
His solution seemed odd at the time, but it worked. He said, “You need to hang long strips of Mylar around the area the woodpecker has attacked. Anything moving and shiny will scare it away.” The bird disappeared, the holes were patched and painted, and I was happy.
I didn’t even care when a perplexed neighbor (who has since moved) asked me passive-aggressively, with a touch of Homeowners Association shrillness, “Um, did you have a party outside your house?” She didn’t understand why we were sporting that used car lot streamer look for weeks and weeks. She wanted to know why we didn’t take down our shimmering banners. What a rube.
Ah, but if she can see our house now! Because the woodpecker of years ago flew off to a mad scientist’s lair and underwent some science fiction implantations. It became a vengeful super power cyborg bird. Sadly, mere Mylar steamers have not deterred this model EM-2012-X Cyborg Woodpecker. The Snodells have been forced into full Avian Military Industrial Complex mode.
Our latest battle started about a month ago. We heard the familiar peckpeckpeckpeckpeckpeckpeck. We checked the back of our house and were dismayed to find a few holes, one large enough to accommodate a pigeon. No problem, we thought. Up went the silvery streamers, in went the wood-filler, and on went our lives.
Or so we thought. Peckpeckpeckpeckpeckpeckpeck. And, peckpeckpeckpeckpeck.
EM-2012-X Cyborg Woodpecker returned just days later, mocking us with new holes next to the repaired ones. Right in the thick of our Mylar display. The bird even drilled higher up on the house for good measure. Because, why not?
We journeyed to the wise man on the hill, also known as Google. We learned it was time for a plastic owl.
You have to understand how strange this was for Brooklyn-born me, having to call Lowe’s and ask them if they had one of those fake owl scare “crow” things. They did, and for several hours in the history of humanity, there was a plastic owl by the lawn mower section of a Midwestern Lowe’s with my name on it. A Denise owl. The Green Acres theme song has since been running through my head.
Turns out, one owl did not work. We escalated to a second owl. We dangled Owl 2 from our deck with a fishing line. A fishing line. (Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue.) More holes were patched and we remained ever hopeful.
Which was dumb. The bird came back.
On our second ascent to the wise man, we learned of dangling pie tins near the attack points. They are not only shiny, but very, very noisy. Especially when you forget to reel them in on a windy night.
Let’s review. Our home-sweet-home now displays ugly patched-up holes, Mylar streamers, dangling owls and pie tins blowing around on kite string.
It’s been a few weeks. So far, so good. Unless you have to look at the back of our house.
Denise Snodell, a 913 freelance columnist, writes every other week.