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  • Mike Wiley

Have a healthy and happy 2020 and remember, make a stranger smile

The Pileated Woodpecker, harbinger of winter? Our cover bird is one unique and spectacular bird. Its only problem is it hasn’t captured the imagination of enough people. For example, Mr. and Mrs. Robin, harbingers of spring, the Stork family, harbingers of happy family times and baby deliverers. Even Mr. and Mrs. Vulture managed to get in on the harbinger schtick, albeit a shared harbinger-ship of death with the Grim Reaper family.

Apparently, the Pileated Woodpecker has been approached by some tall foreheads in the P.R. business who have whispered that Winter may be looking for a harbinger. Granted, Harbinger of Winter is not a harbinger-ship currently in huge demand but even a big, classy, but rarely seen bird like a Pileated Woodpecker has to realize that a small harbingership is better than none. Besides, hopefully “Winter” itself will embrace this new Harbinger title as a step up from its current title of “Old Man.”

Even the now-assumed-extinct Ivory-billed Woodpecker never received a harbinger-ship. The prehistoric Pterodactyl, who launched the prototype Pileated and Ivory-billed body shape, never achieved harbinger-ship. Granted, the Pterodactyl did have a few other problems to overcome before it could even be considered for harbinger status. For example, the Pterodactyl had an unfortunately difficult name to pronounce and it spent most of its career scaring the hell out of cavemen and women. Even with those characteristics, the Pterodactyl came within a whisker of winning the Harbinger of Death title. Personally, I cannot imagine how it lost out on that one. Let’s face it, if you awake to see a Pterodactyl sitting on your bedpost, even in prehistoric times, you have a pretty good idea that you were unlikely to get your slippers on, let alone have even one spoonful of porridge.

My advice, for what it’s worth, to the Pileated Woodpecker: forget the harbinger-ship! Concentrate on being large, cool as heck, and timid. As long as you have a voice that sounds like it should be in a jungle movie and Pender photographers like Urs Boxler continue to be patient and diligent enough to find and get you on the cover of The Pender Post, but way better than the extinct Ivory-billed Woodpecker or that nasty featherless prehistoric Pterodactyl.

Speaking of advice, please heed the advice of The Pender Post Research Department, the board, and the many people who make The Pender Post happen…have a healthy and happy 2020 and remember, make a stranger smile.

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