Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Pesky Flickers!

The bunnies aren’t the only ones feeling hormonal surges. The Husband reports that even the evening newscast picked up on the fact that flickers are also exercising their territorial and courtship prerogatives lately. It’d be hard not to notice, when almost every time I step outside, the sound of drumming is in the air.

Given more to solitude than flocking, flickers were forced to develop long-distance communication. Living close to hollow trees, male flickers took to drumming to attract the female during those seasons when togetherness is called for. Ah, spring! So here they are, in town and country, finding our hollow houses and chimneys more than adequate substitutes for the growing shortage of hollow trees. At least that’s the way it looks to me.

People tend to notice large woodpeckers pounding on their houses, especially early in the morning. Even people who ordinarily aren’t too attuned to Nature get the message. Rejoice—it’s spring!

One of our resident flickers took to drumming on a bluebird house we’d installed years ago. (Hope it wasn’t occupied.) Evening before last, we were pleased to see that he’d had some success—two flickers were chatting in the big elm tree. Bobbing heads, making a new (to us) flicker noise. Not the common call or alarm clacking as they fly, but a more subtle sound, the cooings and murmurings of growing affection. Can young flickers be far behind?

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