Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Flicker - the real kind

We were at the camp this weekend. On Sunday morning, Steve went out to gather a few blueberries after breakfast. We have tons of bushes and tons of eensty weentsy blueberries. It was going to take him a while. I decided to do the dishes and tidy up.

There was a lot of bird song in the early morning, between 6:00 am and 8:00 am but all was quiet. Nearly. In the top of the pines a whole lot of 'kekekekeke' was going on. We thought it might be the usual chipmunk quarrels, but we hadn't seen any chipmunks around this summer.

I forgot about it. The last task of clean up is to take the grey water over to a brush wall we are building and toss it there. It is a little bit away from the kitchen area.
The naive hope is that any intruders will sniff out the brush pile and ignore the kitchen. On the way, I heard 'woka-woka-woka' That was a sort of cartoony sound. Steve heard it to and shouted from the other end of the camp to bring it to my attention.

Toss the water. 'kekekekeke' (woka-woka-woka) 'kekekeke'. I could tell it was coming from one of several possible pine trees. I stood still, listened and looked. Eventually, I figured out that there were about 5 birds doing the 'kekekeke' stuff.

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Then, this beautiful Northern Flicker flew overhead onto a dead branch. While the others were whooping it up with their 'kekekkeke's, Mr. Woka-Woka gave another call. A quieter woka-woka was heard from one of the pine trees and over he flew.
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We have a bird book by Jeffrey C. Dome, Formac Field Guide to Nova Scotia Birds


It is nicely illustrated, most of the information can be read visually instead of by text. This is helpful when in the field and a person is trying to figure out size, habitat and other things to narrow it down to a specific bird. I checked out Northern Flicker, because I wasn't positive that that was what I had seen.

Yup. The 'kekekeke' is a territorial call. 5 or so of the boys were sorting out who owned which pine tree. Mr. Woka-Woka, however, was a little more alert and he sang the mating call. While the boys argued it out, he got the girl.
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