Sunday, September 19, 2010

Flickers Again

Last year, at about this same time, I had a family of Common Flickers take a keen interest in my woodpecker tree. They spent hours searching the tree for tasty morsels and then were gone. I haven’t seen flickers in the tree since then, at least until now. Just as before, a family of Flickers has come to glean what they can from the rotting wood of my woodpecker tree.

The tree has lost a lot of bark since last year, but there still seems to be plenty of insects to find. I never could see what they were eating. Some food was pulled from beneath the bark and some seemed to be deeper into the rotting wood.

Flickers are such wonderfully colored birds. I love seeing them and having them in the tree makes for the best viewing. I just wonder why I don’t see them here at other times of the year. They’re around, but they spend their time foraging on the ground where it’s hard to see all of their pretty markings.

The entire family visited this particular crotch between two divergent limbs. It must be a place of abundance or else there’s something particularly tasty in there that’s terribly difficult to dig out.

The woodpecker tree continues to decompose, but the major trunks are still standing. Most of the bark has disappeared and the outer few inches of wood is getting really soft. Prior to the drought, there were several plants that sprouted from stored seeds in the trunks and a proliferation of fungus fruiting bodies. I would expect the tree to last for only a few more years. When it finally falls, I plan to use the parts to create some more lizard habitat around the barn.


  1. Lovely images. :)

    We have an old tree on our property, too, and enjoy watching the woodpeckers working it over for a good meal.

  2. Larger limbs and trunks become more attractive to some of the bigger woodboring beetle species once they start getting a little 'punkier', and crotch areas also seem to be especially favored. You don't mention the tree species, but it has an "elm-ish" look to it (silver maple would be my second guess) - both of these species are quite attractive to woodborers.

  3. Hi Steve..Nice photo of the Flicker!!
    They are a real pretty bird. I miss seeing them
    for they used to be so many who really liked my back lawn where there was lots of ants!!

  4. Thanks, Lois. There aren’t many people who would leave a dead tree standing for the birds.

    Ted, your second guess is correct. I’ll check the tree for beetle sign sometime soon.

    You’ve changed your photo, grammie g. I thought someone new was making a comment. The Flickers here like to dig around in the big ant hills. Sometimes they make quite a hole.