The Obstreperous Young Flickers

Aug 16 07:24 2010 David Bunch Print This Article

For the first eight or ten days the callow birdlings of the golden woodpecker (aka “the flicker”) with their big heads and thick beaks looked decidedly weird. Unlike the infant of the redheaded woodpecker, which exhibits no red at all on its crown, traces of crimson can be clearly discerned on the flicker baby's head after the first few days.

For the first eight or ten days the callow birdlings of the golden woodpecker (aka “the flicker”) with their big heads and thick beaks looked decidedly weird. Unlike the infant of the redheaded woodpecker,Guest Posting which exhibits no red at all on its crown, traces of crimson can be clearly discerned on the flicker baby's head after the first few days. For a fortnight one of the old birds spends the whole night with the brood—in this case it was the male—and he could be observed stirring about and peering out of the nest at dawn, though he rarely leaves the hole till half an hour later.

Then the day's task begins, and from 5:30 in the morning until 7:30 in the evening the parents are incessantly foraging for food, each trip from and to the nest averaging from half to three-quarters of an hour. Until the fledglings are about three weeks old the parent birds clear out of the nest after almost every meal, but soon the size of the youngsters is such as to crowd the nest so that it can no longer be scavenged. This nest-cleaning is carried on with much circumspection, the wary parent first spying around from the hole and refraining from collecting and ejecting the nest-trash until it is certain that there is nothing suspicious about. The considerable depth of the nest is a safeguard against intrusion. It also serves another purpose, the high walls providing ample sleeping accommodation; for, like other woodpeckers, the flicker does not crouch, but hangs when he slumbers.

Prying furtively into our flicker's habitation late one night, through the spy-hole already mentioned, the writer with the aid of a flashlight was delighted to catch a glimpse of four little flicker juniors hardly three weeks old, all fast asleep with the head tucked under the wing, and clinging to the sides of the nest almost like suspended bats. There are few more pleasing sights in bird-life than a young flicker, at last fully fledged, pertly peeping from his window, taking his first "bird's-eye view" of the great wide world around him.

But these flicker youngsters are an obstreperous lot without a doubt, addicted to impatience, expressed by a querulous "Yee-up", which is the first of the flicker's several calls that the young birds acquire, usually after about sixteen days. Little insects and grubs of various kinds, also small fruits, such as huckleberries, compose the juvenile flicker's diet. Ants and their pupae are specially relished. As the time approaches for the nestlings to leave their nursery, an authoritative "Yee-up" of the old birds becomes frequent, and the progeny can be observed at the entrance hole, each little one eagerly craning his neck and listening attentively to the parental command, impatient withal to test his sturdy wings.

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

About Article Author