Welcome to A Garden Variety Blog!

Although my neighbors are all barbarians,
And you, you are a thousand miles away,
There are always two cups on my table.
--Tang Dynasty

I hope you, whomever you are,
will sit down "with" me for tea,
or flavored coffee or spiced cider,
and have a garden variety chat.
Now and then.
I am not so consistant about blogging
as I ought to be.
I *am* consistant about
drinking hot beverage
and the coffee/tea is always on the hob.

Come on in!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In My Backyard Today

I just took this photo through my sunny back window.

But here is a better picture from the internet.

He is my neighbor, and shares my backyard year round. Judy (my other neighbor, and a bird expert) informed me for a long time that this type of woodpecker doesn't live here - until the day she saw him. She now calls him a "rare bird". LOL!
One map shows that only 1 of his kind has been counted in western Michigan, and another map shows none.
Pileated woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus
Identification Tips:Length: 15 inches Very large black and white woodpecker Prominent red crest at rear of head White throat Entirely black body plumage at rest except a white line that extends from bill down sides of neck to upper flanks In flight shows pale bases to primaries on upperwing and entirely white underwing covert Adult male:
Red forehead Red malar area Adult female:
Black forehead Black malar stripe Similar species: No other living woodpecker could be confused with the Pileated.

If you go to http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/Infocenter/i4050id.html and click "Song" you'll hear what I hear every day, right outside my back door.He has a mate and they live year round in a tree next to my herb garden.
He is truly magnificent and I am glad to have such a rare neighbor - to a point that is.
He is also killing healthy trees in my back yard. I've been told they only drill dead trees, but he goes after trees that are beautiful and green in the summer.
I do know he's after insects so the trees probably have them. I don't mind so much losing trees that will die anyway but, as long as they are alive they are beautiful.
This one I mind dying because if it falls, it will do major damage to our home. Our woods in the back encroach so close to the house that we do not have a backyard. This tree is within 15 feet of the house and would fall it's full length on our roof.
Still, right now I am only a foot from my bright sunny glass doors and can watch him as I type, simply by turning my head a little. And that is very pleasant.