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Monday, March 23, 2009

It's Not What I Thought It Was


Well Friends, I'll just tell you this crazy story ---like it is!! Yesterday, I was outside watching the birds when I saw these two Northern Flickers up HIGH in a tree 'talking' to one another!!!! They were so far away, I wasn't even sure what kind of birds they were until I got my binoculars. I was so excited ---so George got out the camera and took a gazillion pictures for me. We watched those two birds for the longest time. They weren't really making any noise--but they were dancing around and their heads were bobbing up and down. I even think that their beaks met a few times. (Wish I had taken a video so that you could see for yourself.)
Anyhow---I was just positive these two birds were doing the 'mating dance'---and I was going to title my post "Mating Season is Here". I was so excited to get to do this blog. HA HA HA HA ---was I ever in for a surprise when I looked at the pictures on the computer. Guess what?????? These were TWO MALE Northern Flickers. Uh Oh!!!! Could we have been seeing two birds with an 'alternative lifestyle'???? Ha Ha Ha.... When I told George, he laughed and said "OH---I'm not touching that one with a ten-foot-pole!"

SO---I started doing some research on Northern Flickers... Here's some of what I found out. During the mating season, the methods of communication include drumming, tapping, dance displays, wing noise, bill-touching and vocalizations. The vocalizations are categorized into high calls, dance calls, intimate notes and alarm calls. Some observations from those studying these birds were:

-Pair formation appeared to take place in early spring without reference to a potential nest hole.

-A conflict of males at this time was limited to movements of heads and bills, without vocalizations or physical contact. (This must have been what I was witnessing.)
-The most intense displays and vocalizations arose when two FEMALES competed for a male. One female attacked the male several times. (Are you surprised? Wish I had have seen that situation..ha ha)
-In the course of a search for a nest hole, a pair of flickers communicated with each other by dances and we-cup's, then by a long distance communication of drums and high calls, and finally, on rejoining, by a duet of drumming. The female's choice of a nest hole was the one accepted by the pair.
-Male and female flickers tap in the same manner but not at the same time; the tapping is done in relation to potential nest holes or to ones being excavated. (Interesting information, don't you think?)


Well---it appears that these two males were only discussing the situation --about that gorgeous female they were BOTH wooing. You can come up with your own conclusions!!!! Here are the pictures...





As I said, these two birds were WAY up in a big tree --and kept moving around on the limb. George did a great job getting these pictures of them.







In this picture you can tell that they are two males. Males have a black mustache--and females do not.



Wonder what kind of BIG BUSINESS these two MALES were discussing????? "Stay away from my woman. She's MINE." (Ya think?)



These two birds had their LONG discussion (we watched them for at least 15 minutes). Then, the one on the right flew away toward the right. The one on the left flew toward the left... Wonder if they worked out their problems!!!! (At least they were civil about it --and there were no 'cat-fights' like the females may have had!!!!!)

Well--that's my story and I'm stickin' to it. What are your thoughts??????
Hugs,