Posted by: atowhee | August 15, 2018


I have long thought of woodpecker drumming as a spring and territorial behavior, seasonal because after the young have fledged, who cares…
Well, nature and her birds are always more complex than our simplistic patterns…see hybrid species for example.

So this afternoon the dog and I went on a slow stroll through the smoke.  On a neighbor’s chimney is a thin aluminum cap and on that cap was a drumming flicker.  Just two doors away from where I photographed an adult and a new fledgling two days ago.  If it was an adult drumming there is certainly no nesting going on…if it was the youngster, even BNA Online does not know why they might drum…for practice, perhaps?  Was it the youngster doing a flicker’s version of banging on an empty plate to demand more ice cream? One of the parents warning other flickers to stay away from their larder?

The drumming was followed by two of the flickers landing near one another on a tree trunk and a swift call of “wicka, wicka” from one.  Then both flew off into the oaks.

This was emailed to me by one OBOL reader:

“The Autumnal Recrudescence of the Amatory Urge

When the birds are cacaphonic in the trees and on the verge

Of the fields in mid-October when the cold is like a scourge.


It is not delight in winter that makes feathered voices surge,

But autumnal recrudescence of the amatory urge.


When the frost is on the pumpkin and when leaf and branch diverge,

Birds with hormones reawakened sing a paean, not a dirge.

What’s the reason for their warbling? Why on earth this late-year splurge?

The autumnal recrudescence of the amatory urge.

-Written by Susan Stiles, copyright December 1973″

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