The past two days I have observed a woodpecker pecking at the ground in our backyard. It confused me because my whole life I’ve heard the woodpecker’s hollow tapping sound on wood as they search for insects. Even the occasional metallic clang of “beak on pole” is familiar, although it does make me wonder what the bird is thinking. I also feel the pain I expect it should experience and I cringe each time I hear its rapid percussive rhythm. I’ve never suffered a concussion before so, unless you’re a woodpecker, this is a sure way to experience one.

I had to find out why this woodpecker pecking on the ground was so confused. Apparently I was the erroneous one. With apologies for offending any woodpeckers or their friends, my research clarified that this is not unusual behavior for Northern Flickers. It is humbling to realize how easily I made the wrong assumption about the woodpecker.

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