Wednesday, January 11, 2012


January 11, 2012

Living in rural North Carolina, we are surrounded by a variety of woodland creatures.  Some, like the deer, raccoon, and possum that come to our porch for handouts, are very sweet, fluffy, and right out of Central Casting for a Disney movie.  Others, like the bobcats, coyotes, and (once in a blue moon) bear, are somewhat more intimidating.  Given the plethora of critters, with whom Air Line Pilot Husband could take issue, I was amused to discover his greatest nemesis, his mortal enemy, the absolute bane of his existence, is the North American Whippoorwill. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the whippoorwill; it is a small, mottled, grayish bird who is largely nocturnal.  Therein lies the problem.  You see for weeks, every time Pilot Husband crawled into bed for a blissful night of slumber, somewhere in the darkness, the mating call of the whippoorwill would begin.  WHOOOP!  WHOOOP!  WOOOO!  WHOOOP!  WHOOOP!  WOOOO!  While the wife, child, and dog had no trouble sleeping, Pilot Husband would toss and turn, cuss and fuss, and finally resign himself to another sleepless night, retreating to the sofa to watch the Military Channel.

After weeks of listening to our poor little lovelorn birdie, it all came to a head.  Pilot Husband had gotten home that morning from a red-eye flight, and having not napped, was exhausted by bedtime.  Shortly after retiring for the night, it began again.  WHOOOP!  WHOOOP!  WOOOOO!  He could bear it no more.  He leaped from our bed, grabbed the Winchester Defender and stormed onto our front porch, naked as a jay bird (ironically, NOT the bird at issue).  He shouldered the weapon and blasted away at the pitch black treeline.  Branches and bark rained down like it was the winter of '44 in the Ardennes.  While he later claimed he was just trying to scare it off, we all know he was hoping for that one miracle shot in the darkness that would make that little demon bird eat hot lead and explode into tiny bits of feathers and gore.

When the smoke cleared (literally), and the ringing in our ears stopped, Pilot Husband was finally treated to the sound of silence.  Ahhhh.  With a sigh of great satisfaction, he returned to bed, joyous that at best, Satan with feathers was dead, and at the very least, he had scared it sufficiently to convince the whippoorwill to find a new place to roost.

Alas, that miracle shot he hoped for did not in fact occur.  He did, however, scare our bird into finding a new place to roost... in the tree directly outside our bedroom window.  And so the mating call began again, only louder this time, and in a tone that could not be mistaken for anything but contempt and mockery.  WHOOOP!  WHOOOP!  WOOO!  Ummm... ever hear of earplugs, Darling?

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