We woke up this morning to an awful sound. It was like a jackhammer starting up inside a tuba. It quickly became apparent that it was coming from our chimney pipe. I went outside to look, and found this fellow perched on top of the chimney cap, happily banging his beak on it and looking pretty proud of himself:
He's a male Northern Flicker, and it's mating season. Aparently a big part of proving that you are a very manly and attractive male Northern Flicker is making the loudest pecking noise you possibly can (although I should point out that, heard from outside the house, the noise was not nearly as impressive as it was from inside). As my dad says, it's how they "prove they are the biggest pecker around." It seems that when given a choice, today's modern flickers prefer chimney caps and metal roofs to the old-fashined sound of a snag or hollow tree. I guess I don't mind if he uses our chimeny (he's not likely to damage anything), but I'd really prefer if he could wait until after we've woken up in the morning before getting started on his sexy racket!