Yesterday I was out early morning hanging a new suet feeder to replace the one
gnawed by the dastardly squirrels.
Back in the house I turned around to look out the window and noticed this handsome
male Northern Flicker - Colaptes auratus - already feeding!
Easy to recognize the sex of this woodpecker - the male has a black mustache.
Grabbed the camera. . . . . . . . .of course. . . . . . . . .and by then it had flown from
the feeder and was scuffling about in the leaves at the back of the garden.
When I looked through the viewfinder I realized there was a second Flicker on
the ground, thought it was its mate, however then realized it was a much smaller
bird and definitely another male with a mustache. Papa, with suet in his beak,
was feeding his son!
The young bird didn't seem too sturdy on its legs, not unexpected if it hasn't
been out of the nest for long. Both parents do incubate and feed their young
who fledge from the nest (usually in a cavity in a tree) when about one month old.
Guess this dad was living up to his parental responsibilities.
They were there for several minutes and then flew off together.
5-8 eggs are usually laid - perhaps mom was busy with the rest of her brood.
In flight the Flicker flashes golden yellow under wings and tail, undulating deeply
while giving a loud "wacka-wacka" call. It is a non-migrator in the Carolinas so we
are able to enjoy this very attractive large bird all year round.
. . . . . . .and you enjoying the sunshine in that pretty fur coat - don't get any
ideas - you had best stay down there on the ground away from my new
suet feeder - I see you eyeing it already!