The city of Bustleburg's problems may be legion -- fires, crime, pollution, vampires -- but no one warned Professor Daniel Teague about woodpeckers. Daniel's house is his sanctuary from the city. All is well until a small, adorable red-headed avian wreaks utter havoc.
With the Nature Society, Animal Control, and the rest of the city thwarting him at every turn, will the professor's smarts and derring-do be enough to defeat a literal birdbrain?
NOTE: This story is from the author’s collection, The Silliest Stories Out of Bustleburg.
Next I called an out-of-town exterminator with fewer scruples than our local guy.
“Poisoned peanut butter,” he said. “I’m not going to come all the way out there, but that’s what you do. Woodpeckers love peanut butter. That will be end of your problems.”
“Couldn’t you find putty that better matches your wall, Professor Teague?” Mrs. Fitzwallace asked as I dabbed peanut butter on the side of my house. “Oh, and I had my club over for tea yesterday, and one of the ladies said she saw a lovely specimen of downy woodpecker in your yard. Aren’t downy woodpeckers adorable little birds?”
I told Mrs. Fitzwallace that actually it was a red-headed annihilator woodpecker, and as they were rather dangerous, perhaps she had better stay indoors.
As it turned out, this particular bird did not care for poisoned peanut butter. However, the stuff did attract a brood of kamikaze squirrels who would attempt to cling to the roof with their back claws while hanging down to eat it. Soon, in addition to pieces of cedar shake, there were dead squirrels all over the lawn.
At this point, the part of the wall near our window looked like a circus act had used it for knife-throwing practice. I started having nightmares about the woodpecker destroying my house, only to wake up to find they were true. I called back the nature society.
“I officially do not have bugs in the wall. Why is the woodpecker still boring holes in my cedar shakes?”
“Then it’s a probably a male bird. Most houses in your neighborhood are stone, so it singled out your house. And maybe pecking at your wall makes a much louder sound than knocking on a tree. He needs to make a lot of noise to attract a mate.”
“Shouldn’t he have found one by now?”
“Well, Bustleburg is so polluted, there probably aren’t many woodpeckers. Hey, maybe I’ll call around to see if there are any captive female woodpeckers in the area. We could put them near your house. What species of woodpecker do you have?”
“Wait, what?” I felt a sharp pain in my chest. “More birds to drill more holes? Are you out of your mind?”
“But if the woodpecker finds a mate, he might stop damaging your house.”
“And sooner or later their babies will need mates. No! No! No! I am not running a bird dating service!” I knew there was a reason I’d kept an old phone with a receiver one could slam down.