Hairy Woodpecker Pencil Sketch p75

Hairy Woodpecker Pencil Sketch

Hairy Woodpecker Pencil Sketch

Its been a while since I’ve posted a plain old sketch. This is one of the Hairy Woodpeckers that frequents our suet feeders.

We’ve been fortunate to have Hairy Woodpeckers regularly visit our suet feeders for the last few years. As an added treat over the past two summers they’ve even bred nearby. We’ve never located the cavity, but they fly off to the woods to our east carrying huge wads of suet for their young. Eventually the young birds came in to gorge on the suet. In previous summers we’d stop feeding suet for fear that it would go bad, but now we know there’s enough bird traffic to eat everything before the suet goes rancid. It’s fun to see how many birds use it.

Hairy Woodpeckers definitely look like Downy Woodpeckers on steroids, with a bit of Pinocchio in their beaks. They seem absolutely massive by comparison. Although smaller than Red-bellied Woodpeckers in general, their sizes overlap. 

Woodpeckers have their annoying moments, I suppose. One summer when I was a teenager a Downy Woodpecker decided the stack vent from our plumbing was the ideal drumming post. After a steaming hot and humid night of attempting to sleep, I was finally getting some shuteye when I was awakened by what sounded like an AK-47 going off in my ear. After orienting myself for a minute I thought, who is on the roof or in the attic with a hammer? Shoving a steaming hot pillow over my head did nothing but raise my core temperature—and my temper with it. I stomped out the front door to see what craziness was going on, only to find a tiny woodpecker incessantly beating his beak against the metal pipe with all his might. After a few moments of wondering if a quick misting with the hose might prompt him to stop, my anger was replaced by an odd sort of respect for the guy. After thumbing through some bird books at home, I realized that he was merely drumming loudly to attract the ladies. He continued the deafening serenade every morning for a week or two.

Since then I’ve seen woodpeckers pounding on gutters and other parts of houses that serve to amplify their efforts more than a log. Strangely, this always reminds me of my grandfather. No, he didn’t hang from the house pecking the gutters and vent stacks… well, at least not while I was looking. My grandpa Frank was continually telling stories. A favorite of his went as follows:

“I was walking through the city the other day and heard this whump, whump, whump sound, so I decided to investigate. I went around a corner and came across a guy beating his head against a brick wall. I stopped him and asked,‘Why are you beating your head against the wall?’ He looked at me with his purple, swollen forehead and replied,‘Because it feels so good when I stop!’” 

I think of the fool in Grandpa Frank’s story and the industrious, determined Downy Woodpecker beating his head against the pipe on our roof, and I’m not sure which individual I am more like. There are goals I’ve set for myself that make me feel as if I’m beating my head against the wall, and like the woodpecker, I’m not really seeing any tangible results. I guess there are benefits to thinking like a woodpecker. Don’t quit, but don’t expect to move the pipe, either. Just try to enjoy the work and hope something good comes from it… and that no one sprays you with a hose to get you to stop!


Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>