How I Spent My Summer Vacation

It’s November, and I, Susie Snowbird, have returned to Florida, hoping the ibises and herons will be kinder than the pesky northeast avians that practically ruined my summer.

It started one morning in May when my husband woke me at the crack of dawn.

Listen, I hear rapping and tapping,” he said.

You woke me to recite The Raven?”

No, there’s a noise like someone tapping a hammer.

The next thing I heard was my car alarm. I lept from the bed (sort of), ran to the window, and spied the granddaddy of all woodpeckers pecking away at my car. I banged on the window to frighten him.

Picture of a woodpecker

Take thy form from off my car,” I yelled in my best Edgar Allen Poe impression. He flew away, missing the opportunity to quoth “nevermore.”

The damage? My left side-view mirror was shattered—the deranged bird had been pecking away at his own image.

So, $200 later, I had a new mirror and a very amused serviceman. But guess what? The next day, the mirror was cracked again. Mad Woody had returned. Said serviceman suggested I cover them, and no, there was no discount for two glass purchases in the same week.

I began compulsively folding my side-view mirrors every night. I don’t know what became of Woody, although I did hear something about someone’s cracked picture window.

After Woody left, I was plagued by four squatter sparrows—two couples who had nested on either side of my deck awning. Assuming there were eggs in the nests, I didn’t disturb them. I even named them.

One couple was Lucy and Ricky; the other, Fred and Ethel. So what if there was bird poop on my deck and loud chatter in the air? I respect the circle of life.

Time passed; the birds remained. My deck became uninhabitable— twigs, grasses, feathers, and pounds of poop were ubiquitous.

Enough was enough. It was time for the Ricardos and Mertzes to move,
so I sought professional help. The hardware store guy sold me mesh
netting to block their building sites, but never underestimate sparrows.
They found it to be perfect nesting material.

Other solutions from the experts included dangling shiny mylar balloons
and small stuffed animals from the awning (to serve as lurking predators).
But between the balloons and the strangled teddies, my deck resembled an Addams Family birthday party.

The rest of the summer proceeded much like the Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Birds, until they finally moved to another construction site. But the droppings on my window sills told
me they were nearby, probably hanging out with Mad Woody and making plans for next summer.

Picture of a woodpecker

Susan Goldfein’s newest book, How to
Complain When There’s Nothing
to Complain About, is available at Read her blog at: Email
Susan at

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