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I don't know if I've mentioned before that my house is regularly assaulted by woodpeckers. My chimney has a steel UFO-thingy on top of it to keep birds from nesting in the chimney proper. One particular bird finds this to be a wonderful tool for enhancing his mating call. Here he is, roosting on top of the chimney:

What you can't tell from this peaceful photo is that, just a minute before I took this shot, I was working inside when RAT-A-TATATATAT! Like a machine-gun's bullets pummeling a lightly armored vehicle, his beak assaulted my chimney. This was not the first time. No, pretty-boy here:

regularly pounds out a wake-up call in the morning, a "calling all female woodpeckers!" message in the afternoons, and pretty much every time in between. I decided that today I'd catch him in the act, because today was special: I had two competing woodpeckers pounding away on my roof's sheet-metal. Here's the second one on the vent out back:

Duelling machine-gun fire. Note the war-wounds my house has sustained: Those dents aren't from hail.

Moving on. Does anyone know what this alien growth is?

It's growing beside my house from that leafy mass on the bottom. I have three such leafy masses around the house; the leaves are long and sharp and very fibrous, but never before have they sprouted giant green pillars. It's about six feet tall! What comes out of the top? The invasion force? Or will it one day just open its eyes, stretch its legs, and walk away?

Houses: endless entertainment.

Chris

Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
pointoforigin
May. 23rd, 2007 02:55 am (UTC)
I think that bird is a flicker. I miss them! They were all over the place in Kansas, but I rarely see them here. I don't know what it is with woodpeckers and sheet metal. We had a woodpecker last year who was madly in love with our dryer vent and prone to vent his emotion way early in the morning. Quite the wakeup call!

I think that thing growing by your house is a yucca plant. I think the podlets on top will bloom harmlessly, but keep the flamethrower handy, just in case it gets uppity.
mckitterick
May. 23rd, 2007 03:03 am (UTC)
Gosh, you have a good eye! So would these be both the boy and girl as in this Wikipedia shot?

Click the image to see the Wikipedia article on Northern Flicker.
mckitterick
May. 23rd, 2007 03:08 am (UTC)
Yep, I zoomed in as much as possible and increased brightness to the max, and the Flicker on the back chimney has no red: A girl! So a couple was calling back-and-forth on my roof, using metal to magnify their love-poetry. Aw!
pointoforigin
May. 23rd, 2007 02:57 am (UTC)
mckitterick
May. 23rd, 2007 03:01 am (UTC)
Wow, that's pretty! Mine looks pretty feeble by comparison.
(Deleted comment)
mckitterick
May. 23rd, 2007 03:08 am (UTC)
If it's purple, what is it? Or should I just keep the flamethrower handy?
roseconnelly
May. 23rd, 2007 03:35 am (UTC)
If it's purple, what is it?

Asparagus ;)

mckitterick
May. 23rd, 2007 04:06 am (UTC)
That would be some amazing asparagus! Or is that how it grows? Huge and unruly?
(Deleted comment)
roseconnelly
May. 23rd, 2007 03:36 am (UTC)
We have the same problem with the birds and our chimney. It sounds exactly the same too.
mckitterick
May. 23rd, 2007 04:07 am (UTC)
Ah, the joys of urban wildlife.
astein142
May. 23rd, 2007 04:37 am (UTC)
I think the plant might be yucca. The leaves are too wide for it to be pampas grass.
verminiusrex
May. 23rd, 2007 04:47 am (UTC)
The plant looks like yukka, we have them around our place. I dig them up and they keep coming back, as relentless as the Borg. But the blooms are quite lovely.
mckitterick
May. 23rd, 2007 06:45 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I mowed over the back ones one year, but to no avail.
renegade500
May. 23rd, 2007 02:36 pm (UTC)
Love the war wounds on your chimney. I'm not so certain I wouldn't be tempted to go out with a shot gun to such a loving wake up call, though (and I'm all anti-gun and love animals, but I love sleep more).

BTW, if you ever get a chance to talk to Joe Lansdale (who's a whoot to talk to), ask him about his experiences with the woodpeckers tearing up the siding on his house. It's one of the funniest stories I've ever heard (although doesn't end well for the woodpecker).

BTW, love the plant! Should bloom nicely.
justaqt
May. 23rd, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC)
To flamethow or not the flamethrow , that is the question
To me it doesn't look like a yucca because of it's leaves, though I guess one like the
http://www.smmtc.org/plant_of_the_month_200606_Yucca.htm
or an YUCCA filamentosa "Adams Needle"
would be pretty close.

The only thing I could find on the internet was a guy with a journal entry, like yours. hehe
http://www.jasoncoleman.com/BlogArchives/2006/05/a_little_help_n.html#comments
He only got a couple answers too.
mckitterick
May. 23rd, 2007 06:52 pm (UTC)
Re: To flamethow or not the flamethrow , that is the question
Good references, thanks!
silverfae
May. 23rd, 2007 06:35 pm (UTC)
the plant
Contact the Douglas County Extension Office. They'd know for sure.
fireguarder
May. 24th, 2007 02:56 am (UTC)
`Tis a yucca, my parents have them around their house. There are many varieties, but the ones in this area tend to be mostly one or two. Interesting trivia about yuccas: it takes one particular species of moth to pollinate them, and if that moth isn't around, they won't bloom. It took several years for my parent's plants to bloom - at the time they had the only yuccas in the neighborhood. So you must now have those moths in the area. (This trivia courtesy of my botanist dad, who told me about it when I was a wee lass.) More moth info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prodoxidae
mckitterick
May. 24th, 2007 03:20 am (UTC)
That's fascinating. I bet that the tiny black moths around my house are the little pollinators! They are shaped the same, but not green.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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