A Good Winter for Woodpeckers
Or at least, for watching woodpeckers in our back yard. We’ve been getting lots of downies, plus regular visits from some hairy and Red Bellied Woodpeckers.
But the species I’m happiest to see is the Northern Flicker. That’s because we had a Northern Flicker show itself occasionally during the summer of 2010, but neither he nor any of his tribe returned for the next two years. Now we must have a pair nesting nearby, because they are showing up several times a day.
Unfortunately the light has been terrible for photographs lately. We’ve either had heavy overcast or a low sun with terrible glare most of the day. So here’s a better picture Judy took that summer of 2010.
They are handsome birds. They’ve been drawn to our yard mostly by the suet feeder. We use plain suet, the woodpeckers at least don’t need to be enticed by mixing peanuts or fruit into the fat. They also will grab peanuts in the shell and fly off with them, as do the Red Bellied Woodpeckers.
Northern Flickers are not exactly rare, but their numbers are declining due to competition from starlings for nesting sites. They are unusual for woodpeckers in that they will hunt for ants and other insects on the ground. Also, they will sometimes perch instead of clinging to the sides of trees.
Have you seen any unusual birds in your yards this winter?