I enjoy BBS routes that go through sapsucker country. It gives me a
chance to play with their minds on occasion. I've used an old,
legal-size, wooden, Globe clipboard (patent date of Jan.31.93) since
I started doing BBS routes more than 30 years ago. I picked it up in
a box of "miscellaneous" at an auction in Ithaca, NY. I like the
extra length, and the metal clip is formed just right to attach my
timer. It also makes a loud sound when I whack it with my pencil.
Sapsuckers have a unique drumming pattern that is fun to imitate.
When they hear it, some seem to try and outdo it, while others will
fly in closer to see what sapsucker has intruded into their
territory. Today, I had a couple of sapsuckers that had wonderfully
sounding drumming sites - very loud and distinctive. One could be
heard over a half mile away. On one of my Marinette Co. routes in
WI, one often perches on the wooden post of a metal road sign and
really raps the sign. One individual today called close to my stop,
and when I "drummed" on the clipboard, it immediately flew in quite
close - agitated with its head feathers raised.
Here in MN, BBS data indicate the sapsucker population to be stable,
while in WI it is increasing at a 1.7% rate annually since 1966.
Across the US, it is increasing at an even greater annual rate - 3.1%.
At times, one just needs a little distraction while concentrating
mightily for almost 5 hours.