All By Himself
I watched him, watched from my hiding place. If he had known of my proximity he would have picked a different site. I watched as he analyzed the area and chose. He cleared the site and began to build, bringing in materials from various sources. A self-reliant guy, he stepped back and admired his work. Then and only then, he flew off to find a mate.
I watched from behind the curtain, out the window. My old apple tree had some deadwood that was good for carving. He picked the spot on the underside of a trunk with an old twig for a perch. It was a very well thought out design.
I had a fleeting sensation that this was the woodpecker's first nest. I wonder what it is about a survival system that lets him bang his head into a wall repeatedly and be able to still function. There were obstacles he addressed and removed, like trying to get a long twig into a small hole. It took him several tries before he turned the twigs sideways.
He found her, and wooed her, and they moved in. In no time, mornings were announced by the demanding cheeps of baby birds.
Fall came and the family left. This winter finally turned to spring and the birds tried to return but, the tree had rotted too much, and they moved on. It was for the best, the local cats seemed to have stepped up their vigilance.