The scene: One of Wayzata's busiest intersections.

What was happening: For the past couple of weeks, a pileated woodpecker had been chiseling a hole in the pole, most likely for nesting. When I showed up to take pictures, an official-looking man in an orange safety vest carrying a clipboard was standing at the base of the pole, looking up.

The exchange:

Me: Cool bird, huh?

Him: I'd like to kill it.

Me: Oooh, that could be expensive. The fines go up to 20 thousand bucks.

Him: Protected, eh?

Me: Yup.

Him: What is it?

Me: Pileated woodpecker.

Him: They protect all woodpeckers?

Me: All the nongame birds except house sparrows and starlings.

Him: He's weakening the pole.

Me: It's just a nest hole.

Him: If it falls, lot of people around here lose power.

Me: Are you going to do anything?

Him: Just nail some tin over the hole.

Me: Better do it before the bird lays eggs.

Him: Eggs protected, too?

Me: Yup.

And then: He leaves. When I'm taking my pictures, I notice, just below the hole the pileated is making, another piece of tin, probably covering an old hole. This is one determined pileated. And there's a lot of uncovered pole.

JIM WILLIAMS