Fall, The Pine Tree and Birds

When I was very young, my grandfather would read poetry to me. Most of it was in a yellow book that featured many of the poems of Robert Lewis Stevenson. I memorized most of them. The Land of Counterpane still marches out of my brain on various occasions. This one, by Elizabeth Roberts came with a drawing of a woodpecker in home! I still remember it–top to bottom.

The Woodpecker

by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

Elizabeth Madox Roberts

The woodpecker pecked out a little round hole
And made him a house in the telephone pole.
One day when I watched he poked out his head,
And he had on a hood and a collar of red.
When the streams of rain pour out of the sky,
And the sparkles of lightning go flashing by,
And the big, big wheels of thunder roll,
He can snuggle back in the telephone pole.

Today, as I sat on my front porch taking in a cold fall day feeling grateful that we were not near any wildfires, I watched as a half a dozen woodpeckers plied their trade. The rat-a-tat-tat of their head pounding drills was, well, soothing. I heard my grandfather’s voice in my head and the cadence of the poem was accentuated by the real life sounds of those birds.

They would work diligently for a minute or two, then fly away. They would be back (or a substitute player would be back) with something in their beak.

Being curious about such behavior, I brought out the camera and set the zoom for as far out as it would go. I leaned on our fence for support and discovered several things. First, the holes that they make appear to be symmetrical and almost identical to each other. They are, also, very small.

2019-11-01 11.37.08

The pine tree and woodpecker ‘home’

But the startling thing was what is in some of those woodpecker holes. Can you find the acorns?

The tree is winter storage for them!

This one is caught putting ‘something’ in it’s hole.


This one let us see his prize!


And here are a few additional ‘candid’ pictures.

I am pleased that they will have food this winter. I am astounded that they kept at their work even as I approached. I am saddened that the holes are not for snuggling.

Am am glad that I had a grandfather that taught me the woodpecker poem.

Categories: At home, California, Uncategorized, WeatherTags: , , ,


  1. Lovely post. I didn’t know they stored food in the holes, I always thought they were looking for bugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So did I. If I hadn’t been watching them for days I never would have known!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wondrous photos Gael, what clever Woodpeckers they are…….and the Woodpecker poem is gorgeous…. ((Hugs))….. good to hear you are staying safe, We have been hearing about the bush-fires news, even way down here in Australia…


  4. What a prize! Great to see your photos, Gael.


  5. Well, I don’t know that poem at all. It must be an American offering. But I did see a woodpecker just like yours only last Sunday, doing just the same as yours. A lovely sight.


  6. I’d never heard of the poem or the poet, and am glad you’ve introduced me to them. Glorious photos too!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you, Clive! Hope you are well!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you! It feels good to be back at it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks, Gael. Not bad, thanks, hope you’re well too.


  10. I have never read this poem before and I am grateful to you for sharing it. A poem that has stayed with me through the years is Robert Service’s “The Cremation of Sam McGee” about life in the far north during the gold rush days long, long ago. It’s amazing how certain poetry just sticks to your soul, so to speak. I also love the photos you shared here. Such amazing birds!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a nice recollection of both your Grandmother and your experiences. We seem to not find importance to things that happen naturally. Your pictures are great and well-composed. Enjoy your daily experiences.


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