The echoing rat-ta-tat-tat of a woodpecker is always a wake-up call to me of spring. Today when I stopped by to check out the birds at the Salem Audubon Nature Refuge, that sound was one of the first things I heard. Looking to find the source, I discovered this Northern Flicker pounding away on one of the snags we had planted last year with the artificial nesting cavities. As soon as the flicker flew away I approached to examine his work, expecting to find he would have been working on enlarging the cavity. But no, he had merely been banging away on a hard bare spot. Which reminded me that this is just what they do each spring. In fact flickers are well know to bang away on the side of houses or metal flashing to make as much noise as they can in order to call attention to any interested females. As I walked further into the Reserve I heard another woodpecker noise, so loud I halfway expected to find a huge Pileated Woodpecker. After some searching I finally found the source and to my surprise it was this Red-breasted Sapsucker shown below. I've never considered Sapsuckers big noise makers as most of the time they make shallow drillings just through the bark to collect sap. But this bird was banging away on an old dead tree top, probably hollow, which gave off a resounding call across the Reserve. I do love the sounds of spring, they always put a smile on my face.