In this episode of BirdNoir, the P.I. gets a call from Mrs. Pico, a friendly woman who always has homemade cookies ready for visitors. But someone’s playing a trick on her: knocking on the door and then disappearing! The P.I. suspects the culprit is a bird and helps Mrs. Pico narrow down the list of suspects.
BirdNoir: Ding-dong Ditched!
Written by Ariana Remmel
[music: “Gumshoe Blues” Paul Pritchard]
This is BirdNoir. I’m Michael Stein, Private Eye.
I have this neighbor down the street, Mrs. Pico. She’s a lovely woman, the sort who always has homemade cookies ready for the visitors. So I was worried when she called late one evening.
[Sound of phone being picked up]
Mrs. Pico: [on the phone] Michael, someone keeps knocking on my door, but when I go to let them in — nothing! All I hear is laughter in the trees! You’ve got to help me find out who keeps ding-dong-ditching me!
Alright, Mrs. Pico, we’ll get this sorted out. Could it have been one of the neighborhood kids? After a snickerdoodle maybe?
Mrs. Pico: The knocking was awfully fast, dear. Probably too quick for a kid.
Ah, I bet you’ve got a bird who’s come a’calling. Was it maybe a stutter-stop drumming like this Yellow-bellied Sapsucker?
[Yellow-bellied Sapsucker drumming, ML 96961551]
Mrs. Pico: No, sweetie, it was much more rhythmic.
Hmmm. Was it more like this?
[Pileated Woodpecker drumming, ML204018551]
Mrs. Pico: Yes! That’s much closer.
That drumming is the sound of a Pileated Woodpecker. And its call does sound like laughing.
[Pileated Woodpecker call, ML 6841]
Mrs. Pico: [Deflated] Oh, I’m afraid that’s not it. I’d recognize the laugh anywhere.
Maybe a Red-bellied? Their cackling sounds a bit different.
[Red-bellied Woodpecker calls, ML 97153371]
Mrs. Pico: That’s the one!!
Mystery solved. I’ll bet he’s found your door is nice and loud, great for signaling to other woodpeckers that this is his territory. If it keeps happening, try hanging some reflective streamers until the birds learn your door isn’t a drum. And the neighbor kids might think they’re fun, too!
[Red-bellied Woodpecker calls and drumming, ML 97153371]
Mrs. Pico: Thanks, Michael. You’ve put my mind at ease.
Learn how to solve your own bird mysteries at our website, BirdNote dot ORG. I’m Private Eye, Michael Stein.
Senior Producer: John Kessler
Content Director: Allison Wilson
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Managing Producer: Conor Gearin
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker ML 96961551 recorded by K. McFarland, Pileated Woodpecker ML 204018551 recorded by S. Imberti, Pileated Woodpecker ML 6841 recorded by A.A. Allen, and Red-bellied Woodpecker ML 97153371 recorded by P. Marvin. Music: “Gumshoe Blues” Paul Pritchard Album: Film Noir 2012 on Sezame
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2022 BirdNote August 2022
Narrators: Michael Stein and Allison Wilson
ID# noir-07-2022-08-24 noir-07