I am trying to find balance. Balance between running a business and the idea of being a steward of the land it sits on. Recently, I am fighting a war against nature…specifically the Northern Flicker. It’s a bird. More specifically a type of woodpecker. It has butchered our barrel cellar since 2002.
Henceforth, I will call it the F-ing Bird (“F” for Flicker, of course).
Know your Enemy First off, let me say that the F-ing Bird’s population is dwindling but it is “widespread and common” and it’s conservation status is “least concern”. It makes its nest in excavated dead tree trunks…or in our case…in the exterior walls of our barrel cellar. Click here to hear the little darling. Back in 2002 this building was covered in a layer of styrofoam for better insulation before its final coat of stucco. The F-ing Bird knows when it pounds on this building’s walls they are not solid and begins digging out a cavity 13-16″ deep. The next year the F-ing Bird returns to this nest for its next little F-ing family.
…have you tried? For a decade a parade of people have imparted their wisdom for eliminating or deterring this bird. We have:
- wrapped a wire mesh and even a metal strip of siding around the upper part of the barrel cellar (which looked ugly). The F-ing Bird just went lower. Then to the other side of the building.
- played bird distress calls which, I guess, were meant to make the bird so sad it didn’t want to bang on our walls anymore. Our F-ing Birds continued on like we had played a motivational tape.
- hung a rubber snake on the walls. Seriously. It didn’t stop the F-ing Bird’s hole making but we did get to spend endless hours explaining to tourists why there was a rubber snake hanging on the side of our barrel cellar.
- contemplated the elimination route but really, that is a losing battle. There’s always another F-ing Bird around the corner.
Plan of Action I refuse to patch the holes yearly. I am not a fan of patching problems but not fixing their root causes (I could refer to liquor regulations here but would digress). At some point we will probably do one of two things. We will rip off the entire exterior of the 5,500 square foot barrel cellar, take the styrofoam layer off and re-stucco OR we will add a concrete layer on top of the stucco already there, then re-stucco. Both remedies are not in our budget for the next few years.
So until that time, here is my idea. We will live with the F-ing Bird. We will allow it to massacre our barrel cellar. I have decided to post signs on the damaged walls so that visitors to our winery and restaurant understand we are surrendering to the F-ing Bird. I am thinking the signs will look something like this: