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Northern Flicker, Drummer
Springtime brings the sound of a woodpecker - maybe one like this Northern Flicker - drumming on a hollow surface. Members of the woodpecker percussion band announce their territory and attract mates, as they pound away on metal roofs or gutters. Drilling holes in tree trunks calls for some specialized tools, and the North Flicker has them: big claws, two toes pointing forward and two backward, and a stiff tail to prop itself up. Learn more about their drumming at BridgerlandAudubon.org.
Northern Flicker, A Drummer
By Frances Wood
This is BirdNote!
And here’s a sound that might jar you awake one of these spring mornings.
[Northern Flicker hammering]
Members of the woodpecker percussion band often choose early morning hours to whale away on metal roofs or gutters.
Woodpeckers announce their territory and attract mates by pounding on hollow surfaces with their bills. The drum may be a stovepipe, trashcan, even a car hood. Or a hollow tree.
[Call of Northern Flicker]
That’s the sound of a Northern Flicker, a brownish woodpecker, larger than a robin, smaller than a crow, with a black crescent bib and spotted belly, and shafts of color on its wings that flicker when it flies.
Drilling holes in tree trunks calls for some specialized tools, and the Northern Flicker has them. Big claws, for example, with two toes pointing forward and two backward. And a stiff tail to provide a third point of contact with the tree.
If it sounds like a steel band has moved in, try to be patient. As spring moves along, the woodpecker will find a mate and lose interest in hammering on your house. The birds will settle into a hollow tree to produce more woodpeckers.
Learn more on our website, BirdNote.org. I’m Mary McCann.
[Repeat Northern Flicker call]
Bird sounds are provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Sounds of the Northern Flicker: Kleeyr call by W.W.H. Gunn; and drumming by D.S. Herr
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2011 Tune In to Nature.org March 2011 Narrator: Mary McCann
ID # 033006NOFLKPLU NOFL-01b-KPLU-2009-03-05-