Northern Flicker

Looking at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Facebook page today I perused a post on a recent bird watching hike they conducted whereby they saw a bunch of different bird species and it got me thinking about a cool bird we’ve been seeing around the estate lately. I looked at the list and nothing jumped out at me. But I was pretty sure whatever our bird was, it was related to a woodpecker because it had a long beak and some bright colors. So I googled “woodpecker” or something like that and looked at the images. And there was my bird; I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier.

Male Yellow Shafted Northern Flicker (not sure who checked to see what color its shaft is but I'll take their word for it.) Photo stolen from Wikipedia, click link in post for more info.

Male Yellow Shafted Northern Flicker (not sure who checked to see what color its shaft is but I’ll take their word for it.) Photo stolen from Wikipedia, click link in post for more info.

We have two on the property and they are Yellow Shafted Northern Flickers. I thought they were rare since I’ve never seen one before, but I guess they are not. They’re super neat birds who like to hop along the ground eating ants, and fly around the woods like a wood cock or something. I hope our pair are a breeding / nesting pair.

Speaking of nesting, some sort of bird is using our bird house in the east meadow. I spotted a pair this evening as I walked the driveway. My camera lens isn’t good enough to get a good pic from far away, but it was a little tail wagging song bird of some sort. One was on top of the house, the other inside.

You can't see it really but there's a bird on our bird house. Inside is another. We have a resident couple hopefully using it as a nesting box.

You can’t see it really but there’s a bird on our bird house. Inside is another. We have a resident couple hopefully using it as a nesting box.

I tried to cut the grass but my batteries weren’t fully charged for the lawn mower so I just got the front orchard area done. Before cutting it though, I took in the view of all the beautiful clover blooming in the yard. Surely the bees were beside themselves with all of the flowers. Our lawn is basically a wild mix of grass, clover and other flowering plants. I don’t use any fertilizer of any type (mostly due to laziness, and being a cheap skate).

The yard is a haven for bees, as the clover is all blooming and it has been a while since I mowed the lawn.

The yard is a haven for bees, as the clover is all blooming and it has been a while since I mowed the lawn.

As for other industrious pollinators, after two years the carpenter bees finally discovered that our house is covered in western red cedar. Smack dab in the middle of the front porch a bee has burrowed through our siding, leaving behind a gigantic mound of sawdust. No way Jose; I took a paper towel, dowsed it in bug killer and plugged the hole. Sorry but this tree hugger has his limits. I provide 6.5 acres of wildlife nirvana. My cedar siding is off-limits.

An industrious bee is drilling a hole in our cedar siding. Can you believe all that sawdust?

An industrious bee is drilling a hole in our cedar siding. Can you believe all that sawdust?

You know what else is nirvana? The salsa and chips we got from our community supported agriculture program (CSA). The salsa is from Blaze Gourmet and the corn cracker minis are from Shagbark Seed & MIll. Together, with a cold beer to wash them down is pure culinary ecstasy.

This is the best salsa and chip combo, courtesy of our CSA. Blaze Gourmet salsa and Shagbark Seed & Mill corn cracker minis.

This is the best salsa and chip combo, courtesy of our CSA. Blaze Gourmet salsa and Shagbark Seed & Mill corn cracker minis.

Here’s a picture of a poppy from the yard. All the flowers on the land are incredible. I wish I knew how to paint flowers.

A poppy bloom. Fun.

A poppy bloom. Fun.

Also blooming are the daisies and wild black berry bushes. So far we’ve had constant blooming since the snow departed at the end of winter. Cone flowers are on deck. We’re also starting to harvest strawberries. Back in the garden I even saw a huge zucchini bloom, so we’ll have veggies in no time. I bet our bees help make for a bountiful harvest.

The daisies are in full bloom throughout the areas I planted them.

The daisies are in full bloom throughout the areas I planted them.

I don't think they are all wild black berries, but regardless bushes like these are in full bloom throughout the property. They are beautiful. They remind me of flowers you'd drape over a race horse or coffin.

I don’t think they are all wild black berries, but regardless bushes like these are in full bloom throughout the property. They are beautiful. They remind me of flowers you’d drape over a race horse or coffin.

One thing I noticed was that the rose-bush that survived (the other one is officially dead) has been devastated again by saw fly larvae. I saw their little green bodies under the chewed up leaves. So I sprayed the same insecticide soap that I used last year. Not surprisingly, this post from last year was from June 1st, and it outlines my discovery and remedy. The saw flies come back at the same time each year. One perk of my blog: it acts as an awesome almanac. I can look back and see when things died, bloomed or whatever in years past.

The saw fly larvae are at it again. Check the post to see how I take care of them.

The saw fly larvae are at it again. Check the post to see how I take care of them.

One other fun sighting today: a squirrel! Right by the play set, which is the closest we’ve ever seen a squirrel by the house. I find great pleasure in all the flora and fauna we see on the property.

It really is amazing.

Okay, I guess that’s enough for one day. I wish you all could see it first hand, it really all is amazing. You’d like it a lot.

-Chris

 

P.S. Christine read that because of the cold, the flowering buds on fruit trees can crack open and die off, which means they won’t blossom in the spring, which apparently is what happened to my apple trees throughout my orchard (except those 5 blossoms I had at the tippy top of the one tall tree).

So no apples this year, at all.

I hope we are still here next year.

Just once I would like to get an apple from one of our apple trees.

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3 thoughts on “Northern Flicker

  1. I meant to comment on this yesterday. We set up nesting boxes for built specifically for flickers. Apparently their population is slightly at risk due to starlings overtaking their nests. Last year we had perhaps a half dozen in the area but I haven’t seen any this year. That is until I read this post and first thing this morning? Yup. Flicker!

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    • They are neat looking birds. We have a lot of dead trees around the property so we get a plethora of woodpeckers and their relatives. I want to start making bird boxes.

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      • If you search for bird boxes, I’m sure you’ll stumble across the same site that we found (it was several years ago) that has directions for each species that you want to attract. I’m not so sure it matters, now that I think of it. We’ve had squirrels and Great Flycatchers using the home that we built for the Flickers. But we did manage to attract a Screech Owl to the box we built for it.

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