Feeder Survey NOV/DEC 2022

Feb 16, 2023 | Bird Feeder Survey, The Sandpiper

The Yellow-shafted Flicker, a large member of the woodpecker family is one of my favorite birds and it made January 1, 2023 a great start to my new year when I had a rare (for me) sight of one scarfing down the suet at my feeder. The Yellow-shafted Flicker is one of two subspecies of the Northern Flicker: Yellow-shafted Flicker of the east and far north and the Red-shafted Flicker of western North America.

In the wild, flickers can most commonly be seen around standing trees that are dead or dying. Flickers use these ‘snags’ for feeding on tree-dwelling and wood-boring insects also for excavating nest sites. Since Starlings were introduced and have become invasive, they compete with the flickers for newly excavated nesting sites, contributing to the decline of the species.

If you contact “The Cornell Lab of Ornithology” you can get plans for building a Flicker bird house (might be a nice winter project). When I was just starting to become a birder and someone shouted “Flicker” I would search vainly in the nearest tree until it was pointed out to be on the grass eating ants, strange activity for a woodpecker and making it easy prey for Cooper’s Hawks. Ants are the favorite food of Flickers that is why they are mostly viewed on the ground. Seen from the back a Yellow Shafted Flicker appears to be just another large plain brown bird with black barring on its back, the magic begins when it takes flight, flashing bright golden yellow under the wings and tail and a white rump. Underneath it has a striking speckled belly and black bib, both sexes have a red crescent on their nape while only the male sports a black whisker.

Their call is a high keew while its song is a long stretch of kwikwikwikwikwi…They lay 5-8 white eggs and maybe more, both parents participate in incubating the eggs for 11-16 days and feeding the young until they leave the nest at about 4 weeks, then they are fed by parents at first, until they can forage on their own, usually1 brood per year, or 2 in south. To our delight many years ago a group of Flicker fledglings alighted in the crabapple tree in our backyard just long enough for us to enjoy the sight (one of the pleasures of being aware of our natural surroundings).

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Joe Abraham

Swans

Chris Braut

Mallard

Rich Hull

American OystercatcherKristen Cooney

Sharp-shinned Hawk 0 / 0 

Cooper’s hawk 2 / 1 

Rock pigeon 0 / 6

Mourning Dove 51 / 72 

Monk Parakeet 0 / 6 

Red-bellied Woodpecker 7 / 4 

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 3 / 0

Downy Woodpecker 6 / 9

Hairy Woodpecker 1 / 2

Northern Flicker 1 / 0 

Blue Jay 17 / 15 

American Crow 4 / 0

Black-capped Chickadee 11 /17 

Tufted Titmouse 8 / 8 

Red-breasted Nuthatch 3 / 4 

White-breasted Nuthatch 7 / 8

Carolina Wren 3 / 5

American Robin 13 / 6

Northern Mockingbird 2 / 3 

Brown Thrasher 0 / 0

European Starling 20 / 36 

Towhee 0 / 0 

Fox Sparrow 0 / 1 

Song Sparrow 0 / 1

White-throated Sparrow 12 / 13 

Dark-eyed Junco 7 / 9 

Northern Cardinal 8 / 15 

Red-winged Blackbird 0 / 0

Common Grackle 6 / 2 

Brown-headed Cowbird 1 / 0

House Finch 14 / 30 

American Goldfinch 7 / 12

House Sparrow 12 / 48 

OTHER SPECIES

Brown Creeper 1 / 0

Purple Finch 1 / 0

Pine Siskin 1 / 0

Myrtle Warbler 1 / 0

Catbird 2 / 0

Raven 3 / 0

Turkey Vulture 2 / 1

Great Blue Heron 0 / 1

 

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