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Many sorts of woodpeckers eat ants.

King Solomon of old told people go to the ant to get wise: "Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!" [Proverbs 6:6]. Enlarge on that: Ants are not so wise that they escape woodpeckers who feed on them. So: "Go to woodpeckers and consider its ways too, and get wiser still."

Solomon - how wise was he? His royal dynasty crumbled and came to nothing, for the Lord was so displeased with Solomon's ways, the Bible says. To be wise in words and wise in living do not have to be different, however. Genuine wisdom and innate wisdom of the human heart may help us to be circumspect.

The greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor. - Aristotle [Gelb and Buzan 1995, 3]

An apt citation or proverb may tell much of value, at times by use of figurative language, including metaphors. Figurative sayings can be of value no matter who told it and how mature or immature he was. What truly matters is the apt wisdom it contains, above who tells it or is credited with. In fact, it is not so sure that all the proverbs forged by Solomon were genuinely his . . . (Pun intended). "Made by Solomon" is no guarantee that the whole proverb and all parts of it were of his making. That is scholarly wisdom - it may be good to know of it:

The proverbs in the book of Proverbs in the Bible do not all originate with Solomon. Egyptian proverbs and other proverbs from neighbouring countries influenced the proverbs of the Bible. Encyclopaedia Britannica informs about the Book of Proverbs, subtitled "The proverbs of Solomon" that many proverbs in it do not come from Solomon at all. Where do they come from?

Scholarly examination discloses that [The Book of Proverbs] contains seven collections of wisdom materials (mostly short sayings) from a wide variety of periods, all after Solomon's time.

The earliest collection . . . came into being about 700 BC; the latest . . . dates from the 4th century BC. . . .

The third collection has attracted much attention because of its close affinity to the Egyptian Wisdom of Amenemope from between the 10th and 6th centuries BCE. One may add other wisdom works from ancient Egypt too, for example those of Ptah-Hotep and Ke'gemni.

This likeness suggests that Israel's wisdom movement . . . was influenced by the wisdom literature of other ancient Middle Eastern cultures. [EB, s.v. "The Book of Proverbs"].

The value of a proverb - no matter where it first flourished - may be gently considered. Hope to get good indices of how fit and relevant that saying is for us (far and wide). If it seems to be a good and helpful look at things, we need not dump it. Some proverbs are like that - they are still valid, or good for people.

Stop thinking it is wise enough to look at ants or Bible proverbs only, and not see who feed on them. There is room for a broader view, even improved outlooks. Woodpeckers have hearts and are not less than ants. Quality outlooks depend on the discerning soul or mind. So: "Consider the ways of woodpeckers - and the ways of others too - and get wiser than those who talk of ants and parrot Bible sayings without proof, like cheques that are not covered.

It can be good to relax a bit and take a fresh look at things. That is fit for observant people by and large. There are good sides to studying animals to learn about how to live well as a human being, considering the interdependence of lives in holons or niches of nature as well.

A holon (Greek: holos, "whole") is something that is simultaneously a whole and a part. The word was coined by Arthur Koestler. Organs and organ systems have holon propensies. Thereby they have some degree of independence as they co-work within the organism that the being rides and seeks to co-govern for as long as it lasts.

A human being on earth depends on Nature - with air, food, and other conditions - to remain fit for living and breeding and thriving.

Flying and winged ones

At least four sorts of woodpeckers eat ants.

Rise above the misled ones who imitate the ways of crawling ants in the large anthill (society). The lower the animal we draw information from, the less elevated our comparison may get. There is a danger there. Compare:

OT God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air . . . over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

So God created man in his own image . . . male and female he created them. [Genesis 1:26-7]

In the very next chapter of Genesis we are told that woman was created out of man's rib [Genesis 2:21-23]. Count if there is a rib missing. The standby tip is to study the evidence before forming a strong opinion in a matter, or you may cater to prejudice. For example, are there records of levitation outside the church? [More]

Study to derive real benefit. There are many beautiful lessons to draw on from the woodpecker.


The Surgeonistic Woodpecker

The woodpecker in the following series of joking abstracts could be the surgeon at the nearest state hospital. Why not try and visualise a jolly surgeon and his predominant strivings through each little essay here? For proper visualisation training can be good for man. It helps memory too, says Tony Buzan, and his famous mind maps for learning and communication and self-help utilise that point. [Buzan and Buzan 2010; Buzan 1988; 2010a; 2010b]

As for visualisation, the Australian psychologist Alan Richardson tested performance in baskeball free-throw shooting, Tony Buzan tells. Richardson tested and retested three groups and found that the group who had practiced each day for 20 minutes, had improved their shooting by 24 percent. The second group, had been instructed to completely forget about baskeball, and had made no improvement. The third group had been told

just to think about it – by feeling themselves releasing the ball, see the perfect arc, hear the sound of the ball swishing through the net, and feel the satisfaction resulting from that imagined success – improved their shooting percentage by 23 percent.

Other experiments have replicated Richardsonís results, not only in basketball free-throw shooting but also in a wide range of other activities, including dart throwing, ring-tossing, skating, and karate. The conclusion is that visualisation, especially when it is multisensory, can produce a marked inclease in actual performance. [Gelb and Buzan 1995, 54-55. The quote: p. 55]

1. Before they go to work, which they do well, they may not look like anything special

Woodpeckers have four strong toes. They can move up trunks of trees in spirals till they reach large limbs where they explore the undersides of branches and in the end they build the nest. They do it by hacking, but thick skulls protect protect them along with a super shock-absorber for their brains.

To discourage insensible drumming, don't try to change the woodpecker, instead try to modify the surface of the favourite site (address). There are usually very good reasons for a woodpecker's behaviour. These reasons had better be carefully gauged and assessed before doing anything bad against the bird.

As lover of other game or fowl, be forewarned: In the spring or summer, assume the round hole you find on your way, could be an active woodpecker nest with eggs or hatchlings inside it. You might still look for such round, deep openings, where both male and female woodpeckers take turns incubating two to eight eggs, and then at once cement the openings. That could turn nice folks against you, for there is a plastic charm over some of the "woodpecker surgeons" - you know.

Did you know that many of them prefer to drill in dying trees or snags? Then "the surgeons" may cause damage to the outside of buildings (facades of oneself) for much the same reasons - and all along they are likely to be drilling for food. When the surgeons at the community hospital peck the walls for food, they are probably underpaid and worse. Also note their oddidies as a good sign that it could pay to improve the buildings and facilities a whole lot.

As it is, woodpeckers may drill cavities for nesting, roosting, or caching food. So do surgeons, if you take a wide, all right look at hospital activities. [2.1]

Openings may be good signs for many, many that need to lay eggs.

2. They bore to get under the surface for some deep reason, and you may feel quite helpless about it

The first step to avert a plumage-showy surgeon attack against your wall, can be to control fiendish insects or rotting (hidden decay at first) that cause damage under some surfaces. And that is fairly often what is called for. Don't attack the surgeon when his activity is nature's warning that you need to be careful and sift things well and first-class for yourself - or at your own responsibility - after looking under some surface of study.

Then it could be needed and useful to make necessary repairs which might entail replacing affected timbers, siding, or roofing. These things may all be understood in the nicest way possible, like other nature warnings that we humans love to group as omen-bringers.

Woodpeckers and surgeons are deft. Woodpeckers also use their beaks to drum or tap out messages during breeding season. Yet, if woodpecker activity is not restricted to one site on a building, the birds are likely to be drilling for food.

Woodpeckers can be very charming, sort of, even if they live in hiding. In some community hospitals the surgeons get overloaded and hard to find - But while they go for food and shelter and mating, resident woodpeckers drum strongly, hard and often, and may not be counted to be so polite that it matters.
      The fact is they sift things out much and often, and go about utterly discreet till they start chiseling, pecking and boring in their way of ways. It is one that give sure concussions, aches and bruises to others others. But these surgeons are not enemies - just helping out. In feeding, most woodpeckers start at the base of a tree, searching for insects and spiders. We have observed no surgeons at community hospitals do that, so the comparison has to stop there.&;

The sound of insensitive drumming against a wall may be annoying to occupants inside. And the rattling in the trees nearby can often annoy feeble individuals in a hospital bed nearby. All the same, there is a deep reason for their stay, and care should be taken not to scare birds away from an active nest. [3.2]

Woodpeckers are hardly restricted to their search for food alone.

3. The smug ones have sharp claws and sticky tongues

There is much ado and balance when a woodpecker or surgeon sets about and digs out vast cavities, much focused on bug-infested material. This clever bird can drill small holes into the surface to extract what nature may dispense with. Unless you are really balanced and strongly armed against all that goes with the pecking activity, maybe you should not strive to become a surgeon in a stress-ridden community hospital either. Woodpeckers too have the ability to drum on the surface, bore tiny holes to inspect and later expand them for greater profit.

Furthermore, woodpeckers are equipped with sharp claws that enable them to cling upright on the bark of trunks and branches. We have seen no surgeons excelling in that. At times they probe small holes in wood to catch insects. That is indeed a warning of a kind.
      To get well-adapted to living in trees can become a problem when the site is a metal or brick wall, or wooden siding of a house, and when the woodpecker pecks on it in the early morning. Bad and uncivic neighbours can make a lot of difference to these jolly creatures.

When they bore and gain the ardently desired nest, nature's surgeons tunnel down six to eighteen inches deep, making the excavation wider at the bottom for the egg chamber. A minority among our garden surgeons excavate holes in live trees, not rotten and smug ones, and are aided by long, flexible, bristled and sticky tongues in their great and hoary art-work. [3.1]

It should help to visualise well. In Buddhist and Hindu yoga there are methods to help it.

The warning: Even though surgeons are given to help, they may still cause terrible pain, even if they succeed.


Woody Woodpecker's delight on top of the Tao-te Ching

The red-shafted kind of woodpecker may have lived on top of Lao-tzu's Taoist doctrine that "We pierce and cut out doors and windows to make a house. [Ch 11]


Tip-toe through Figurative Telling

In the prophet Isaiah we feel a woodpecker at work.

Common language contains idioms (fixed phrases); rich and vivid images; similes; metaphors; and maybe even higher figurative expressions like those of allegory and insignia (emblems and great signs). We have been rather close to allegory teachings already.
      That art of building meanings through comparisons that tend to halt, show how human nature likes to compare and understand by artful juxtapostions. Yes, by some figurative extension we can produce mighty new sayings, and gist may be formed so as to look like handed-over proverbs. Gist is good for memory. That is a handy principle to be used a lot during one's education. It saves a lot of memory traces from rotting, so to speak, so go for it.

Sound allegory teachings may counteract rotting within.

DotThe jolly woodpecker isn't a boring pain

Flower Bear in mind that woodpeckers bring warnings of a kind.

Let every little woodpecker - and surgeon - carry his own song around. Here is a freedom field.

The jolly woodpecker and the ardent surgeon want to hurt no man.

The completely mad surgeon is not to be tied up by minors, nor is a woodpecker.

If the surgeon's pecking is just a boring pain, there is not enough good gain.

The jolly woodpecker needs neither paint nor fashion clothes - it is the same with a really good-looking woman in a surgeon's job.

DotMany can pretend they're woodpeckers, but make-up betrays them

Many can pretend they are woodpeckers, but not if they are put to the pecking test – Some just pretend they are well educated surgeons, but their lack of papers betray them, if not their lack of skills in pecking and drilling talk against them.

You can never tell a woodpecker's boring capacity by the make-up and beak of another bird.

What the woodpecker is truly after, is known to himself (it is to live well, is the bet). What the surgeon is after, is likewise known to himself.

DotThere cannot be very many that thrive by pecking in a neighbourhood

Peck your own nest (i.e. home) - the woodpecker lives it at its best.

Peck and get your own dear nest; the surgeon tries to live it at its best.

There cannot be many painful gains if the woodpecker is to live well.

If you cannot thrive by pecking a lot, you should not do it.



  1. Neither the surgeon nor the jolly woodpecker is to be just a boring pain . . .
  2. Make-up will not work very well for the woodpecker and desperate surgeon.
  3. There cannot be very many that thrive by pecking in a neighbourhood - surgeons should be few and far between where the public health is excellent, then.
IN NUCE If the surgeon is boring and boring in desperation, health is hardly excellent.

They Did not Teach about Woodpeckers in Israel. Not about Musk-Oxen Either

We may study such statements and hold our breath till things fall into place, if that is all there is to understanding things. But do not try to hold your breath forcibly at all. Maybe realisations that truly matter comes out of the wood like very discreet woodpeckers - by themselves they come and tap along. So "Go to the woodpeckers, see their fare and get wiser."

That is a solid and all right message. Note that a woodpecker is not so stupid that it tells untruth about mustard seeds in your face. Nor does it boast of ants lessons. It eats ants instead.

They really did not know much about ants in ancient Israel. Face the facts rather than succumb to drivel.

OT Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler . . .

How long will you lie . . .? [Proverbs 6:6-9]

The working ant has indeed a ruling queen. If you assert it, you are on the path to wisdom. Also, if you study a book on how proverbs in the Bible came about, you may read for yourself that many of them were just put in his mouth. They were not all made by him. Then you will be wiser. [EB, "The Book of Proverbs"]

Assert yourself boldly enough to matter on your own behalf as well as can well-nigh be. The salope (French: prostitute, hooker, slattern, slut, bitch, whore, etc.) does not do that. Some people obviously sell themselves short. It looks like a very bad bargain. You are permitted to do very well.

On the pavement to success, "every little helps" at best. If you add woodpecker proverbs to the things you listen to at night, the lights off and lying in bed, you can wake up refreshed next morning. After five rounds of such gentle listening, the "spray" of common sense tends to enter the long-time memory (LTM), and then you are able to recall a lot of them better, and have them at your disposal too. By good proverbs and similar gist you can gather wisdom by letting a tape recorder or mini disc do the toilsome parts. Yours to lie and listen. Have a go at it, that is: Give it a try and see if it is true, and how far it helps. It is a learning method you have got tips from, at any rate.


Opposed to neat studies: Prejudice

Observations in proverbs and fairy tales

Memorable conclusions are worth something. Let recordings assist you. And not chasing windmills too.

Modern science is like a huge mill; it mills hypotheses. Some hypotheses help humans, others hardly so.

Let the ocean within the heart bring you all needed wisdom and understanding.

Garden birds too can have much understanding. That is their role in fairy tales too - to express good choices and give counsels on your shoulder in their kindness. [Example]

You have perhaps grasped that woodpeckers may be signs of insect attacks. If you didn't know about that, the sign (indication) of insect attacks can be wasted. Much depends on the seeing eye and not-roving, observant mind otherwise too.

"Grrr!" is a message we seldom hear in the song of birds, but do not leave out the birds can be other than glad too. Fairness, love and delight is not all there is to a bird's life either.

We think the songs that make the heart glad are tall pieces of art, no matter who sings them.

If you are surrounded by lovely birds that chirp and sing all year long, that is good for you. What is more, ancient Indian source books speak of such sceneries as fit for sexual dalliance. If you live in a place where lovely birds chirp and sing, maybe you should learn to become harder - mating tends to result in that.

Opposed to neat studies and research, old superstitions and prejudices unfold as attitudes to this and that.

Learn a lesson from King Solomon, the man the Bible calls the wisest on earth ever. He did not get it all right. He also fell into idolatry and ruined his dynasty by it, says the Bible. So beware of double-talk and religious hearsay that might well be unfounded.

The art of observing is had by just being there, generally aware, and doing very, very little so as to find out. That is how excellent observations may come to the few who can stand that sort of endeavour.

Feel free to study woodpeckers and free canary birds in their natural habitats as you please. Woodpeckers give a lot of information to birdwatchers.

Woodpeckers, birds with a strong bill and a stiff tail, which climb tree trunks to find insects and drum on dead wood, Literature  

Beaman, Mark, and Steve Madge. 2010. The Handbook of Bird Identification for Europe and the Western Palearctic. Digital ed. London: Christopher Helm / A. and C. Black.

Buzan, Tony. 1988. Make the Most of Your Mind. Rev. ed. London: Pan, 1988.

Buzan, Tony. The Memory Book: How to Remember Anything You Want. Harlow: BBC Active / Person, 2010a.

Buzan, Tony. 2010b. Use Your Head. Harlow: BBC Active / Pearson.

Buzan, Tony, and Barry Buzan. 2010.The Mind Map Book: Unlock Your Creativity, Boost Your Memory, Change Your Life. Harlow: BBC Active / Pearson.

EB: Encyclopaedia Britannica, i.e. Britannica Online.

Fisher, James, and Jim Flegg. 2010. Watching Birds. Print-on-demand ed. Berkhamsted: Poyser.

Gelb, Michael J., and Tony Buzan. 1995. Lessons from the Art of Juggling. London: Aurum Press.

Gorman, Gerard. 2014. Woodpeckers of the World: The Complete Guide. Digital ed. London: Christopher Helm.

Hammond, Paula. Atlas of the World's Strangest Animals. New York: Marshall Cavendish. Luescher, Andrew U., ed. 2006. Manual of Parrot Behavior. Oxford: Blackwell.

Mills, Daniel, senior ed. 2013. The Animal Book: A Visual Encyclopedia of Life on Earth. London: Dorling Kindersley.

Morris, Desmond. 2002. Peoplewatching. London: Vintage Books. ⍽▢⍽ Earlier version: "Manwatching." Taking watching other beings "at least one step further".

Rice, Eleanor Spicer. 2017. Dr. Eleanor's Book of Common Ants. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Spiegelman, Willard. 2005. How Poets See the World: The Art of Description in Contemporary Poetry. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stokes, David W. 1979. A Guide to the Behavior of Common Birds. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company.

White, W. Farren. 1883. Ants and Their Ways. London: The Religious Tract Society.

Winkler, Hans, David Christie, and David Nurney. 2010. Woodpeckers. A Guide to the Woodpeckers, Piculets, and Wrynecks of the World. Digital ed. London: Christopher Helm.

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