Friday, June 30, 2017

Such a handsome bird. . . . . . . . . .

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!


  1. What a wonderful sight. We don't have that bird here, but it slightly resembles our Green Woodpacker I think.

  2. Beautiful birds Mary and stunning colouring..... brilliant photographs too.
    Your garden has such a wonderful assortment of visitors and you always seem ready with your camera. Can you see your garden from the house ? XXXX

    1. Yes Jackie, the garden is not that large and many of my bird pix are taken from the windows. I did manage to quietly push the back door open to get the pix of the two birds on the ground - the ones on the feeder, and the squirrel, are through living room windows.
      Mary -

  3. I call the squirrels several times a day and feed them pecans. They like almonds too but not walnuts and peanuts. Picky squirrels. I too love Flickers and have never seen one at the feeder before. Always on the ground turning over leaves. What a treat to see him feeding his son. I painted one of their pretty yellow under feathers.

    1. I loved seeing the dad with his offspring Donna - too many of them leave all the work to the moms of the world!!!!!!
      Mary -

  4. A very handsome bird that Flicker. Hope that the squirrels leave the suet feeder alone!

    1. No, they're already sneaking up that small dogwood tree trunk after the suet - those little rodents will eat just about anything - but they are cute and such amazing gymnasts!!!
      Mary -

  5. Beautiful shots. I haven't seen a Flicker in a while! And you had two!!

  6. What a wonderful series of photos, Mary. I don't think we have Flickers here. They are beautiful.


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