Friday, January 17, 2014

A Rare Visitor

I really like woodpeckers.  
I think they're pretty amazing and last year I saw a Northern Yellow-Shafted Flicker come thru our backyard.  I hadn't seen him since and worried a bit because the Starlings are such pests in this area.  We actually help control the Starlings every winter by taking out at least 40-50 of them via airgun.  I know that may sound cruel, but they're considered an invasive species.

Helping to cull a small flock a year helps woodpeckers, like the Flicker, nest peacefully and raise a few chicks without fear or competition of a Starling coming thru and kicking the babies out of the nest or killing the mother and babies altogether.

While they aren't endangered their populations are declining.

Here's the cellphone picture I managed to snap of him:

He must've been hungry because this woodpecker prefers bugs and ants to suet and seeds.  He's mainly a ground feeder, but as we had about 5" of snow still he must've been having a hard time finding bugs.

And here's a better one from the Cornell Lab of Orinthology Click the link to learn more!

If you fancy birds take a look over at Cornell's website.  
And if you're even more into birds you can join Project FeederWatch  and help track winter birds at your own feeder.  There's a small annual fee of $15 USD but if you appreciate conservation of any kind this a fun activity to do and something that even kids can help out with!

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