This is a quite long story, with many pictures, and some emotional ups and down. You might need to arm yourself with a cup of tea and take a comfy seat before settling in to read. OK, here we go …
By the end of June, the flicker nest was the talk of the street. Everyone was keeping a discreet eye on the plum tree goings-on and neighbours would discuss the activity over the garden fences.
Each morning I was checking the tree to see if the sounds were still in there. Sometimes it was quiet (I guess there was nap time) and sometimes the little murmurings were there. Then, one morning in early July, I was rewarded by this adorable face at the “window.”
Note: If you missed PART ONE, you can read it HERE.
Everything was looking so good for the little family. The parents were such fierce guardians, and the babies seemed safe in their tree fortress.
One morning I got up very early to see what was new.
What was new was this: absolute silence at the nest and a sad pile of flicker feathers around the base of the tree.
Further exploration revealed the remains of a baby flicker on the road.
I’m not sure if the culprit was the returning squirrel, the neighbour’s cat, or my buddies the crows. I try to put in the perspective of the circle of life and all that, but I must say I was pretty sad.
The flicker parents were still around, but no sign of any babies. I wondered if they’d lost their one and only fledgling for that year.
The following day I took a cup of tea out to the front of the house and was startled by a great flapping in the windowed end of the porch. It was a baby flicker, vainly trying to fly to freedom through the glass.
Luckily, I still had the “rescue box” from the last flicker episode on hand. I grabbed a towel (not fraying at the edges this time!) and put it over the head of the baby. She immediately stopped flapping and I put her in the box with the lid on.
I was somewhat torn about releasing her, worrying that whatever killed her sibling would get her too. However, I took a deep breath and let her go in the back garden, where there’s lots of cover.
I was worried that there were no sign of the parents. After a few moments to collect herself, the baby flicker took off and flew away north.
Over the next few days I’d hear calls of adult and baby flickers around the garden.
I heard the soft thud of baby flicker flight mishaps a few times.
My husband was sitting quietly in the garden and spotted the two adults and the fledgling flicker all together at the bird bath. I was happy to think that at least the surviving baby was gathering skills and under the guardianship of the parents.
Yesterday it was my turn. I saw both parents and, not one, but TWO baby flickers in the garden — one male, one female. Below is a video of the mother feeding the female fledgling on the roof of my studio.
Here are the siblings playing around in the lilac tree.
EVEN MORE BABIES!
This morning I actually think I spotted THREE fledglings – one male and two female. Now I’m starting to wonder how many baby flickers can fit into the trunk of a medium sized ornamental plum tree. No wonder there were so many sounds coming out of there!
So, the Flicker Family Saga continues. As is the way of life, tomorrow may bring a sad pile of feathers, but for today things are looking pretty promising for the Flicker Family of Parker Street.
I have so many northern flicker images to work with now, I hardly know where to start.
For now, I have this print available in my online shop.
If you missed Part One of the FLICKER FAMILY SAGA, you can read it HERE.
11 thoughts on “Flicker Family Saga – Part Two”
I’m so happy I “found” you at the Ladner Market this summer. I’m loving your blog …..& your Raven/Crow photos have found a home at my cottage. Thank you June!
Absolutely wonderful post!
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June,what a delightful story you have shared in words and photos! We are reminded of the tragedy of life, but there is always hope-much hope.
So very lovely! Thank you two days of beauty, both in its sadness and hope. What a privilege.
I really appreciate your close-ups of birds, showing off the intricacies of feather colour. My patio birds – chickadees and sparrows and hummers are far enough away to appreciate their songs and flight, but not the close up detail. The addition of the short video is fantastic. Thanks June.
Continue to follow your stories, both smiling and getting teary-eyed as I read them. I’m 75, a widow living alone with my Pomeranian “Honey,” who gives me a reason to get up each day. Our block consists of 3/4 acre lots on a dead-end street, and I have a yard full of trees. I, too, have many flickers, as well as a large variety of many other birds. This year for the first time I have acquired many white doves in addition to my usual mourning dove families. They are beautiful. I keep my feeders and bird baths going for my feathered families, as well as my seven squirrels, host of mallards, a few pheasants, lots of quail, and a front porch filled at night with skunks and raccoons (sometimes eating side-by-side)! This year, one of my mother coons as four babies with her. I didn’t know they had that many. Life is still interesting thanks to my birds and animals. I so love your blogs, I really can relate.
Thanks, Diane. It sounds pretty special at your place. We had a bit of a squirrel drama yesterday. A baby squirrel got stuck by climbing our neighbour’s stuccoed house. Got to the top and couldn’t figure out how to get down. It was as if he was velcroed, head down to the wall. He was there for several hours, but finally managed to make an escape. Better than TV, really!
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