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Flicker of recognition for our little drummer bird

April 25, 2016

A northern flicker laying down a rap on top of a streetlight at 6:33 a.m.

We all know about the early bird that gets the worm but what about the bird in the Fairview neighbourhood that gets to drumming on the tops of street lights just after sunrise?

In March of 2015 I referred to one of them as a woodpecker. This morning (April 25) I saw and heard another one and this time I think I can narrow down the identification to a specific member of the woodpecker family.

I think our little drummer bird is a Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus), which the City of Vancouver includes in its list of 15 common garden birds.

Apparently when a northern flicker drums on a metal surface, such as galvanized flashing, steel railing or the top of a streetlight, it’s trying to declare its territory to the greatest possible number of surrounding birds.

Metal naturally resonates louder than wood and therefore provides the northern flicker with the most bang for its beak, as it were. Click the image to enlarge it.

From → Birds, Fairview

  1. Slowcrow permalink

    Another great post. There’s much more to life in the city than most people can see. All these different ‘worlds’ functioning at once…… Glad you see that and have the ability to post about the ones you see in your travels.


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