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Another Bird Spots You

If you’re not familiar with Gilded flickers (Colaptes chrysoides), they are large desert woodpeckers, closely associated with Saguaros.  They excavate their nest cavities in the trunks of the giant cactus.  They’re closely related to Red-shafted and Yellow-shafted flickers who inhabit the western and eastern U.S., respectively.  Flickers are flashy in coloration, being spotted and barred, and having yellow feather shafts in their flight feathers and tail, visible when the bird is in flight.  They are loud, too, both vocally and when the males hammer territorially on hollow surfaces like the metal bird-guard on our chimney.

It’s the male flicker of this species who sports the brilliant red “moustache”.

<< A male Gilded Flicker peering at E as he snapped this photo, in our neighborhood (photo E.Shock)

The primary food of flickers is ANTS, and this large woodpecker frequently can be seen on the ground, foraging for them.  This is a really good reason to NOT POISON ANTS in your Flicker-inhabited yard: use non-toxic arthropod deterrents such as diatomaceous earth.  They also eat fruit and insects, nectar, pet kibble left outside, plant seeds, and will feed at bird feeders with nuts or suet.

Posted by Allison on Apr 16th 2010 09:14 am | One Comment
| View birds,close in,natural history,nidification,spot the bird category

One Response to “Another Bird Spots You”

  1. kate mckinnonon 16 Apr 2010 at 9:33 am link comment

    I am once again pondering the voracious and apparently nocturnal harvester ants that live in my neighbor’s yard. If my Gila woodpeckers would wake up and eat them all I guess I’d be fine.

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