If, like me, you love to wake up early - around 5:45 to be precise - and lie in bed, listening to the sublime sound of the dawn chorus, I hope that it’s not interrupted, like mine was one morning, by a rat-a-ta tat which seemingly got louder as the morning wore on. By 5:55 it was time to get up, the noise still ringing around the house. At first, it took me some minutes of investigation to locate the window that this noise was coming from, until I gave my wife quite a fright with my exclamation of “There it is!” after espying a Great Spotted Woodpecker trying to get in on the wide jam of the landing window. All this was ten days ago and I have tried almost everything to stop it; the damage is horrendous. I decided that I had had enough and that it was time to take a stand: Sunday mornings were about to change, I had to get even with this spotted wood chomper. Yesterday, with the help of my wife, we sorted through the children’s furry toys, “This one is ugly enough”, shouted the wife, as she held up a rather large fluffy tiger cub. “If that’s the best we’ve got, that will have to do” I sighed. “Don’t you think it looks nasty enough, Allan?” she queried, giving it a little shake. I gesticulated in a roundabout fashion and admitted we would just have to cross our fingers and perhaps our toes. We lodged this furry moggy into position right in front of the window on the inside, held up by a rather nice Wedgwood Ramshead vase - the deterrent was in place. “Come on woodpecker,” we both said, “bring it on.” This morning was nowhere near as sunny but, at about 5:20 we both awoke, listening to that heavenly sound of the dawn chorus: finches, the tits, the blackbirds, pigeons all having their bit to say in the world, utterly charming. But truth to be told we were anticipating the roughneck sound of the rat-a-tat-tat at any moment … but it didn’t come. We opened the bedroom door gingerly waiting to see if the spotted rebel rouser was wanting to chance his arm with the ugly looking moggy. To our delight, the rascal didn’t dare – the mog had obviously done the trick! “What’ll happen when he gets used to it?” my wife asked with a grin from ear to ear, “We can always try one of those teletubbies,” I replied.
The Great Spotted Woodpecker was far less prevalent than the Green Woodpecker, across the Cotswolds; now the numbers seem to be quite equal. Both magnificent woodland birds.