Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Male Northern Flicker. (Has a red "moustache.")

There are flickers here all year round, but numbers seem to increase in the fall, presumably northern or montane birds moving southward and downward. You seldom walk more than a block or two without hearing their "keeew!" call, usually from the top of a tall tree. Still, they go mostly unnoticed until they land on a lawn and start foraging for ants. "What's that big bird?"

Female Northern Flicker. (Has not.)

Trying to photograph a foraging flicker with a digital camera as famously unpredictable as Mr. Hesitation calls for perseverance and a large memory card. The bird forages: peck peck peck peck head-up-to-look-for-cats peck peck peck peck head-up-to-look-for-cats, etc. It is during the head-up-to-look-for-cats split-second that you hope the shutter will open. You end up deleting a lot of images.

For the sake of threeness, a flicker tail feather found in August, showing the distinctive "red" colour. Salmon, really.


Cicero Sings said...

We had a couple of Flicker families foraging in our yard this year (and we have the ants to feed them) ... it was fun to watch the young ones get initiated into the fine art of foraging.

Wanderin' Weeta said...

"You end up deleting a lot of images."

Me, too. It seems to run about 10:1.

Maybe I should take photos of things that stay still. Like houses, and rocks.

A Local Naturalist said...

Yes - they must learn to be the most peculiar of woodpeckers. I saw once saw one with its head deep into the ground, ostrich style. They need to learn to work in groups, with one always on lookout.

A Local Naturalist said...

To Weeta:
10:1 sounds about right!