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Flicker Attack

Yikes! What's that bird doing, pounding on my house?

In early spring, a male flicker may drum on a metal stovepipe or other resonant surface to attract a mate and proclaim his territory. This doesn't damage your house. If your flicker is drilling for food, you'd better check for carpenter ants or other insects! A flicker may also be excavating a nest cavity. If so, you can put up a nestbox nearby. The pair that adopts it will keep other flickers away. If it's late spring or summer and you discover a big hole, there's probably a brood inside, and it's illegal to disturb them.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 
BirdNote®
Flicker Attack

Written by Chris Peterson

 This is BirdNote!
 [Loud and brisk sound of a Northern Flicker drumming on a house]
 “Hey, Buster! What do you think you’re doing, pounding on my house?!”
 [Repeat Flicker drumming]
 Does this sound like you? Is the Northern Flicker on your house drumming, drilling, or excavating?
 In early spring, a male flicker may drum on a metal stovepipe or other resonant surface to attract a mate and proclaim his territory. [Flicker drumming on pipe] While this sound can be annoying, it doesn’t damage your house.
 Your flicker could be drilling for food — a signal that you, too, should be checking to find the source of those carpenter ants or other insects. [Flicker drilling]
In spring, a flicker may also be excavating a nest cavity. Fewer and fewer dead trees mean the birds are looking for alternate sites.
If a flicker has started to chisel a cavity, you can put up a nest box nearby. The pair that adopts it will also keep other flickers away. [Aggressive flicker repeated-note call -- the male "spring song."]
If it’s late spring or summer and you discover a big hole, there’s likely a brood inside, and it’s illegal to disturb them.
Find a list of reliable ways to scare away flickers if they’re bothering your house. Visit our website, birdnote.org. [Calls of the Northern Flicker]
Ah, the Northern Flicker, a bird with a gorgeous Latin name Colaptes auratus
(ko-LAP-teez   aw-RAY-tus ) – the “golden chiseler.”
For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.
                                                                            ###

Calls and drumming of the Northern Flicker provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.  Drumming on wood recorded by D.S. Herr; territorial call recorded by V.W. Ward.
Drumming on metal pipe recorded by C. Peterson
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2013 Tune In to Nature.org     March 2013     Narrator: Michael Stein

ID# NOFL-03-2010-03-07          NOFL-03   http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/living/northernflickers.htm

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