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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The problem with percussionists

The problem with percussionists is that they feel compelled to bang away at any surface that sounds good. Last summer neighbor Richard built a pair of lovely gateposts at the entrance to his driveway. I was impressed with how quickly he finished the job. The guy is definitely organized, and can a see a project through to the finish.

Well, the other day Richard and I were in the driveway testing the transmission distance of a new remote security sensor, when I noticed that a percussionist had been pecking the paint off of his gateposts. We found that it had already drilled a hole right through the finished fiber board. "It's a flicker", said Richard with conviction. "I've seen him, and I've heard him hammering". But he hadn't seen the bird defacing the gatepost.

Ten minutes later we had the post under surveillance with a camera trap, and last night we checked it for images. The only picture was of the hole, sans flicker. The lamp on top of the post had set the camera off. When we removed the lid of the gatepost and looked inside we learned that the perpetrator had found the depth of the cavity unacceptable.

I rapped the post with my knuckles, and it resonated rather nicely. No wonder the percussionist checked it out.

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