Signs of Spring

Although the weather hasn’t been exactly Spring-like, save for 3 recent days which have since given way to more cold rain, there are reminders that technically it is Spring.

A disturbing sign of Spring.

Nearly every morning for the past week or so I’ve been awakened by the familiar, disturbing sounds of woodpeckers beating their peckers on the house. Sometimes they pound away on the gutters, which is annoying. Other times they engage in a more troubling practice of using the house itself as a percussion surface. This is not good. They are causing property destruction.

Red-Naped Sapsucker, alive.

There are two species of culprits in question. I’m no ornithologist but I believe the Red-Naped Sapsucker to be the less frequent offenders. They’re also more easily deterred–all I need to do is shoo them away and they don’t return for sometimes days. Last year I discovered one of these dead peckers on our roof. It was sad, and I wept.

Red-Naped Sapsucker, not alive.

As I mentioned, the little red-headed sapsucking peckers are easy to intimidate. I only wish I could strike that sort of fear into the  Northern Flickers, which are the serial offenders. These larger, more annoying birds seem to revel in taunting me. If I so much as open the door to step outside, these birds are always one step ahead of me. Before I can level the scope of the pellet gun, the flickers are alreadly flying off at great speeds. They’re crafty little peckers, too. They seem to know the effective range of the pellet gun and perch well beyond that distance.

Norther Flucker, er, Flicker.

I’ve contemplated the skittish nature of the Flickers and have determined that either we can keep going round and round with this never-ending dance as we have for years, or I can step up my game. The pellet gun is ineffective, that much has been proven. What I need is more firepower and more coverage. It may be time to bring out my favorite shotgun and a box of #6 dove load that’s just been collecting dust for years.

Mr. Flicker, meet Signore Beretta.

There may not be much left of the feathers if my shot is not unaccomplished, but let’s assume, hypothetically, that the damage is minimal and there are ample feathers leftover:

What would you tie with the feathers, and what would you all the new pattern?



  1. TC/The Trout Underground

    Yeah, but what’s the shotgun going to do to your house?

    With my better airguns, I get pretty good accuracy out to 60 yards or so; maybe you need a bigger airgun and a ghillie suit…

    • Kirk Werner


      The pellet gun has good accuracy out to about 60 yards. The problem is that these peckers perch well beyond 100 yards after they’ve fled. And I’ve pondered the house damage thing. It’ll be important to take the shot on the swing as they flush, away from structures. It’s actually very sporting when you approach it this way. I appreciate your concern.

  2. cofisher

    Just thank God that you don’t have a bigger pecker!

    • Kirk Werner

      Yes, that would be a horrible problem to have. Thanks for that thought, Howard.

  3. Patrick

    Good question. Maybe an “Orange Hammer” (tribute to the Yellow Hammer) with those dorsal tail feathers? Depending on the length, flexibility and the pattern created when spreading the barbs of those breast feathers, perhaps some small wet flies. Maybe incorporate wing feathers into muted Spey or steelhead flies, such as the Black Dog or Green King? There are possiblities…

    But this is all hypothetical as I’d avoid any collusion to violate The Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (unless, of course, the requisite state permit and federal permit were to be obtained).

    • Kirk Werner

      I liken this to farmers being able to shoot game animals that damage their crops. I’ll I’d just be defending my rights as a property owner. And these peckers are of low concern on the endangered species spectrum, so I doubt anyone is going to knock on my door and cite me. For the record, this is all hypothetical and I would never act out that which I’ve written about.

  4. El Rakeman

    If you can shoot intruders trying to break into your house while you are in it, I see no reason to not be able to shoot at some rouge peckers violating your home. Of course, I’m not the Federal Government, nor do my opinions represent any governmental entity. Good luck de-peckering your life…ewwww.

    • Kirk Werner

      Yes, this is all purely hypothetical, which makes me wonder why there’s a black suburban with blacked-out windows parked just up the road from my house…thanks for the comment.

  5. Ed

    My eyes immediately focus on the spotted breast feathers and see a potential for cheeks on small streamer flies. Or perhaps, the breast feathers could be used for wing cases on nymphs?

    Who knows? Perhaps you will discover a new stage for sporting clays that involved shooting from your front porch.

    BTW — Nice Beretta


    • Kirk Werner

      Ed, what would you call your pattern inventions that use the pecker feathers?

      I love the Beretta. Nicest swinging gun in my arsenal. Unfortunately it rarely gets out to play. Perfect upland game gun.

  6. chuck

    Why is shooting something always plan A in America? I use an air horn at our place in Wisconsin! I wouldn’t shoot a bird like that. We have the really big wood peckers. They are magnificent! I would never shoot one…never! I admit I did shew one away with an air-soft pistol once! It worked and it was harmless. My girlfriend likes the “super soaker!” It has limited range though! Better for he racoons that get in the garbage at night! Man they hate that thing! Ha!

    • chuck

      Google “Pileated Woodpecker!” Simply magnificent!

      • Kirk Werner

        We have them here, too. In fact part of our property is designated as a conservation reserve area due in part to Pileated Woodpecker habitat.They’re honorable peckers that never drum on the house.

    • Kirk Werner

      You’re absolutely right, Chuck. Maybe I can simply invoice the peckers for the damage they’ve done to my house.

      • Ed

        do you have a woodpecker insurance rider to your homeowners’ property?

        BTW — I’m terrible at coming up with fly names, but how about Kurt’s wood pecker fly? I’m purposely keeping this child friendly 😉

        • Kirk Werner

          “Kurt’s Wood Pecker”. How about we shorten it to “Kurt’s Woody”? However, Kurt might take offense, whomever he is.

  7. Clif

    Do you have a lawn chair and 6-pack to go with that gun?

    • Kirk Werner

      Actually I have a chaise lounge and a 12-pack.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *