Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Nature Notes and Signs of the Season

Eastern Male Northern Flicker

I was very happy to spot him in my front yard the other day. He was busy digging into the grass with his beak, which as you'll see if you enlarge the photos, has mud all over it.

I read that Northern Flickers are attracted to open wooded areas, preferring swamps and recently flooded areas, cities and suburbs all across America. In other words just about everywhere but this is the first time I have ever seen one in my garden and I was thrilled to bits.

They eat grasshoppers, crickets, termites, wasps, beetles and their larvae, caterpillars, spiders, ants, fruit seeds including cherries, dogwood berries, Virginia Creepers, poison ivy, sumac, blackberry, black gum, sunflower seeds and nuts. During the winter months they eat fruit more than anything else. They lay three to twelve eggs in unlined cavities in dead trees. Another interesting fact is that it prefers to find food on the ground and uses its large barbed tongue to lap up ants. He'll have a lot to eat in my garden. Ants are all over the place and I have been wondering how to get rid of them without pesticides. For this reason alone I hope he becomes a regular visitor.

Amazing how fast you can move a body, which is what happened to this body when I ran from the front of the house to the back to grab my camera. I was shooting through glass and the light was fading but I was able to get several relatively decent shots before he flew away.

Michelle is the host of Nature Notes and Signs of the Season. Thank you Michelle.

If you want to see other posts about nature and the changing seasons past or present, please click right here.



21 comments:

Cher' Shots said...

You took some wonderful shots of him with your camera. We have flickers every year and they are very welcome here. They feast on the ants in the sandy areas of our so called lawn.

Carver said...

You took some great shots of the flicker and this was very interesting information. I have them too but they move way too fast for me to photograph most of the time. You did a great job.

Rambling Woods said...

You did get some great shots. I so rarely see them and then only in the spring. I wasn't aware of all that information about them. With all that they eat in the way of pests, we need more of them. Thank you for posting to Nature Notes...Michelle

Linda (PA_shutterbug) said...

Great pictures, Denise. I haven't seen a flicker. I am keeping my eyes peeled to find a variety of birds and capture photographs. BTW Mama and Papa Swan had babies -- 7 of them. I haven't seen them personally. My friend saw them today. I hope to make a trip to the river tomorrow to see them for myself.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Great bird photographs. I don't believe that I have ever heard of the Northern Flicker.

Jan said...

Great captures. This is a new bird for me. I bet they stay on your side of the county.

Callie said...

Great photos! I have never seen a flicker. It is certainly a beautiful bird. Those are amazing photos taken through glass.

diane said...

You were lucky to capture him, well done. I love his little red shoulders.

Cezar and Léia said...

ohmigod, this bird is sooo cute.You are so talented with bird's pictures, wonderful post!
Léia

matron said...

What a spectacular bird,lovely shots of him,I hope he stays to help with your ant problem.

Mumsy said...

Gorgeous bird, and your shots are just fantastic even if it's through glass.

magiceye said...

wonderful shots and interesting information

midwesttomidlands said...

I haven't heard of that bird before, but you did well to get photos of it before he flickered along!

mommanator said...

Isnt he beautiful!

Bird said...

What a beautiful bird, I would have dashed like crazy to get a few pictures of this handsome devil! It looks like a kind of woodpecker? I'm going to look it up, so thanks for introducing it to me :)

Misty Dawn said...

I LOVE Flickers - I think their markings and colorings are so pretty!

Paul C said...

These are wonderful shots of a most beautiful bird. My first sighting of the northern flicker.

eileeninmd said...

Denise, Gorgeous shots of the Northern Flicker. They are cool yardbirds.

Squirrel said...

Great photo and content.

KaHolly said...

Wonderfully informative post accompanied by some very nice pictures. The N. Flicker has always been a favorite of mine as one of the first birds I identified all my-byself many years ago. ~karen

Roy said...

Fabulous shots Denise, so colourful.