Saturday, April 7, 2012

My Friend Flicker

Northern Flicker (yellow-shafted)
Flickers are one of my favorite birds and fortunately for me they have been in almost every location that I have lived in. I grew up with the yellow-shafted Northern Flicker here in New England but became familiar with the red-shafted variety when I moved to the west. Later I moved to Arizona where I was able to see the rarer Gilded Flicker that lives in Saguaro Cactus. When I went to the bog to count birds on April 3rd as part of my eBird Site Survey I was surprised when a Northern Flicker landed on the guardrail behind me and started drumming!

Sitting on guardrail.
You may wonder why a woodpecker would hammer on something so hard and impervious. Obviously it is not trying to get food or drill a hole for a nest. Well, most woodpeckers drum to establish their territory. It is telling the other birds that this is where I live, so you'd better stay away. What surprised me was that I was at the bog for 2 1/2 hours and the flicker was there on the guardrail drumming the whole time! If a car went by it would fly away, but then return to start drumming again. I was busy counting birds and it took me awhile to figure out why...
Thinking...

Drumming on guardrail.

Look this way...

Look that way...


Drum again!


Just listen to these guys hammering!
After 2 hours it finally occurred to me! The whole time I was there at the bog there were guys hammering away on a new house that is being built across the pasture to the west of me and the bog! Every time they would hammer the flicker would drum on the guardrail in response!
I can do it too!

I wish I could have told him he has nothing to worry about from these guys!

You can read the whole story of my morning at the bog by clicking on the link: Signs of Spring at the Bog

29 comments:

  1. What awesome photos and what a great story! These are really terrific and I will be posting a story about Flickers soon as well, but my images will not look anything like these beauties~

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    1. Mary, I am sure your photos will be just fine. I look forward to your post!

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  2. Very beautiful pictures!!!

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  3. What a great experience with this Flicker Kathie! I would have been puzzled too.

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    1. Mia, I loved it that it hung around so long!

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  4. Great job playing slueth!! Enjoyed your photos.

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  5. A great bird indeed!
    Wonderful to meet one of your friends!
    A bird I haven't seen in France... Too bad!
    Well done!

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    1. Noushka, well, I do hope you get to see one someday. They are such magnificent birds in my opinion! And Thank You for stopping by to read my post!

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  6. That's great Kathie! It made me laugh. Gotta love their spirit.

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    1. Laurence, I agree! And, I love their colors and patterning too!

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  7. Fun post, Kathie! I love flickers too. Had to smile at your title--"My friend Flicka" was one of my favorite books when I was a kid!

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    1. Kelly, I loved the movie and the book. I read all three in the series! Now we have another thing in common!

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  8. Interesting for sure. There is a whole lot of drumming these days in our back yard. Downy,Hairy, Red Bellied & Nortern Shafted variety. Now all I need if for a Pileated to move into our wood...:)

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    1. Troutbirder, I am in the same boat. I have seen all those species in my yard expect for the pileated! I have not even seen one anywhere in my neighborhood!

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  9. How fascinating. Thank you for showing me a bird I will probably never see.

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    1. The Elephants child, you are so welcome! but I do hope you get to see one someday!

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  10. I glimpsed my first flicker four week ago in waning sunlight on the side of a wooded hill. My flicker was rustling through dried leaves and stirring up the first crop of worms and grubs. His tail feathers, those shafts of a florescent amber, grabbed me like a Vegas advertisement and for a moment it was transcendental.

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    1. Mark, how wonderful and how very poetic your description is!

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  11. Julie, What great shots of the flicker. Sounds like you had a most interesting time watching him. Just wanted to wish you a Happy Easter. Mickie :)

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    1. Mickie, I don't know if you meant Juile, or me, Kathie, but thank you anyways and I do hope you had a Happy Easter as well!

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  12. So very interesting! We currently are in the process of framing a house and there has been a lot of woodpecker drilling going on (especially Pileated Woodpeckers). It has never crossed my mind that perhaps these woodpeckers were letting the framers know that this is OUR woods! Fantastic post! Terrific photographs!

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    1. Julie, LOL! How funny! Now you know! I would love to see photos of the pileated. I have not seen any here in Massachusetts yet.

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  13. Thanks for sharing this post Kathie! Flickers are so cool. How fortunate that this one posed so well for you!

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    1. Robert, sometimes it was so close to me! BTW, how is birding at your patch going? I miss reading your posts.

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  14. Thanks for sharing the post. I love the red patch on the back of its neck.

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