All eyes were looking up Thursday for the latest in a feathered feud brewing at the world’s largest hockey stick in Duncan.
“It’s one of our treasures for sure and it’s like what the heck is going on up there,” said Lori King.
“Well it’s a nice place for him up there, he can look out over all the sights and everything,” said Dave Mayo.
A determined woodpecker has targeted the honoured and towering wooden stick for its home and maintenance workers at the Cowichan Community Centre, that’s attached to the stick, are trying just as hard to stop him.
Lorraine Francisty was the first to find the bird last week.
“Well we came out and saw all the bark mulch on the ground and low and behold we found a woodpecker,” said Francisty, a longtime employee at the Cowichan Community Centre.
“In all the years I’ve worked at the arena, I’ve never seen a woodpecker attacking our hockey stick so this is a first.”
The woodpecker has been identified as a Northern Flicker — and this little sapsucker is proving to be one stubborn bird. After carving out its first hole in the 61,000-pound Douglas Fir hockey stick last week, maintenance workers stuffed the hole with steel wool, but it didn’t last long.
Identified by the red under his wings, he pulled all the stuffing out and threw it to the ground, before climbing back in.
Then Thursday morning, crews patched the hole with a plate using a bucket truck — and Woody wasn’t taking the eviction.
“Low and behold the bird appeared making a hold above the plate,” said Francisty.
Now two sides have emerged in the fight for the world’s largest hockey stick. Team Woody or team stick.
“I kind of wish I had a slingshot or something. Like get off our stick,” said King.
“I’m the opposite view, there’s lots of wood to replace the wood he’s notching out so I’m on the side of the woodpecker,” said Cowichan resident Dave Sullivan.
What happens next, is up in the air, but for now, Woody’s back in residence.
Though considering it’s the Northern Flicker’s mating season, crews may have to brace for a female flicker and even a nest and chicks to surface soon.
As the battle over a celebrated stick prepares to go another round.