Thursday, January 20, 2011

R is for Redwood

We were reading a book about California before bed last night. One of the pages talked about all the trees in our state, specifically the redwoods. It went on to describe their size and where they grow.

Vincent interrupted my reading, something he never does (at least when I am reading), and we had the following exchange:

Vincent: “Mom, Did you know that woodpeckers have very sharp beaks.”

Me: “ Yes, I did. Can you tell me more about the woodpecker?”

Vincent: “ Well (he loves to start responses with the word well), they use their sharp and powerful beak to peck through the bark of trees to get insects that live inside. Then they eat the insects. I would like to visit redwood trees and see if we can find woodpeckers.”

Me: “Where did you learn that? At school?”

Vincent: “I am a scientist. I know stuff.”

In truth, I REALLY dislike birds. A friend in high school had one. It bit me. Repeatedly. I hated that bird.

Subsequently, I never gave much thought as to why woodpeckers peck wood. They are just woodpeckers. They do as their name states. So after tucking the scientist into bed I went and applied my finely skilled legal research skills to Ornithology (the study of birds).

I Googled woodpeckers.

Vinny was right. Woodpeckers use their beaks to, among other things, get to the insects living in the trunks of trees.

I continued to read about woodpeckers (because I have a lot of free time...especially at night...when the house is spotless...and there’s not a single toy out of place...or an unwashed dish in the see where I am going with this, right?).

When a woodpecker lays an egg it takes 11–14 days to hatch, and the chick is ready to leave the nest 18–30 days thereafter. The lifespan of the woodpecker is a relatively short 4-11 years.

I did the math. A mama woodpecker that lived to the age of four would have spent only 2% of her life with that baby bird. This made me sad.

I know we are talking about nature. These are birds. Birds lay lots of eggs. They can have many woodpecker chicks (about four at a time, if you were wondering). But how sad I felt for the mama bird that had to watch her bird leave the nest so quickly.

A trip to Sequoia National Park might be in order. Vincent can look for Woodpeckers. I can spend time with my baby birds. It is not long before they leave the nest.

P.S. - I promise I will not have a post with the word pecker in it again. I might have to break this promise. I am the mother to two boys.

The book we were reading is G is for Golden by David Domeniconi. Awesome illustrations and lots of stuff to learn. I highly recommend.


  1. Correction to this post...I did the math!

  2. Hils I love you are doing this blog!!! You have always been an amazing woman, friend now mom! I'm a fan