I'm the early riser in my house, especially in summer. My daughter is out of school, and my wife, an elementary school teacher, is also on vacation, so they stay in bed. I'm usually up before 7:00, making coffee and spending a little time reading the news or nodes.

However, my solitude has been broken in recent weeks by an unusual visitor -- a criminally-insane woodpecker. (Please, you animal-rights-sensitive types, don't go postal. There's no other way to describe this idiot bird).

The edge of the roof on my house is wrapped with aluminum gutters and downspouts. An aluminum frame sun room attaches to the rear of the house on a small patio.

The woodpecker usually arrives at about 6:30. It perches on one of two spots -- on the roof of the sun room, right outside my office window, or on the gutter at the northeast corner of the house. I usually see it when it alights on the sun room; it's a pretty large bird with a flaming red head. I know it's the same bird every time, as it has a rather distinctive dark streak on it's right wing.

The bird then begins his attack. Within seconds, it's rapidly pounding its beak against the aluminum panels on the roof. Those familiar with the sounds of a woodpecker tapping a tree know how loud and hard that noise can be. In the woods, you can sometimes hear it for a mile or more. In this case, the rattling is like the rapid staccato of automatic weapons fire. The pecking only lasts a few seconds, as the bird gives up after one or two attempts. But the force of the pounding literally rattles the house, shaking the window of my office.

The bird alternates his location each day, once at the sun room, the next on the roof at the back of the house.

I'm only going to worry if I find holes in the aluminum.