Posted by: atowhee | April 11, 2010

Drums At Dawn

The male Flicker was at the top of the utility pole in front of our house before 7 AM.  His drumming there is a series of about fifteen staccato raps each time he performs.  The upper end of the pole is deeply cleft, the dry wood resonates when struck at the right spot with the proper force.  Flicker knows this technique well. Just across the street a male Downy Woodpecker taps out his softer paradiddle on the end of a dead vertical limb.  His speed matches that of the larger Flicker, but his drumming volume is only a fraction of the former’s.  Then the female Flicker swoops in to attend her mate, apparently admiring his rhythmic powers up close.

Downy plays his drum.

Drumming is evidently thirsty work.  And it builds up the craving for a hardy beakfull of suet.


This once the usually secretive Hermit Thrush passed close  by the window where I stood with camera.

And for once the nuthatch stopped moving long enough for me to take a picture.  Normally he flies down to the feeder, grabs a sunflower seed upon landing and then takes off in a rapid sequence that happens faster than my camera can focus.  This time, after landing, Nuthatch took a brief look around before take-off.  This past winter was mild enough that we never got a Red-breasted Nuthatch in our yard from the higher elevations.  Only this White-breasted who lives here year round in our low elevation mixed forest of oak, madrone, Ponderosa and Douglas-fir.

Location:     243 Granite Street, Ashland
Observation date:     4/10/10
Number of species:     17

Western Screech-Owl   1  (calling after 10pm)
Band-tailed Pigeon     3
Mourning Dove     5
Downy Woodpecker     1
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)     2
Steller’s Jay     5
Western Scrub-Jay     3
Black-capped Chickadee     2
Bushtit     1

White-breasted Nuthatch     1   Hermit Thrush     1, Robin   1   European Starling     2
Spotted Towhee     2
Fox Sparrow     1
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)     7
Lesser Goldfinch     12

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