|A Northern Flicker enjoying our backyard.|
In late January we posted this picture of a Northern Flicker on our Facebook page. The picture was taken last may. The only members of the woodpecker family that commonly feed on the ground, we also went on to say that, due to their diet, which consists mainly of ants and beetle larvae, we weren’t expecting to see them until late spring. Then, two days later, and much to our surprise, Mother Nature threw us a curve ball.
|A male Northern Flicker in Western NY in February?|
February 1st we noticed a winged visitor in the sumac trees on the edge of our property. Nothing unusual there, as we’ve seen variety of birds attracted to the sumac drupes. But this time something seemed a bit different. Amid the flutter of wings, we saw a splash of yellow. And that splash of yellow is what made me go for the camera. Imagine my surprise when I zoomed in on the object of our curiosity and watched as a male Northern Flicker feasted on the sumac drupes.
You might say February 1st was a day of firsts and a bit of avian education for Claudia and myself where the Northern Flicker was concerned. Prior to that day we had never before seen a Flicker so early, at least not that we noticed. It also was the first time we had noticed them feeding anywhere other than the ground.
|This Northern Flicker is listening for an answer to his mating call.|
While we learned a thing or two this month regarding the Northern Flicker, we aren’t total strangers to its habits. A few years ago we were rousted from sound slumber bright and early each morning for several days. Come to find out, it is part of the Flicker’s courting ritual and also to proclaim its territory to hammer away on dead limbs and also tin roofs. We didn’t have a tin roof but at least one male Flicker found the aluminum flashing above our sun porch suitable for his early hour courtship reverie.
Until Next Time,
Jim & Claudia