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Posted by: atowhee | January 17, 2019

OUR NEIGHBORS VISIT DAILY

Auddy, our lone warbler, is a regular.  He flutters, he hovers, he drives off rivals, he bounces along the patio.  He is our most energetic visitor, until the Bushtits arrive, attack the suet then vanish.  It would require a kinglet to out-hustle Auddy.

The Bewick’s Wren is very much at  home here.  We look forward to the coming nesting season, long after Auddy’s gone home to his conifer forest.
Recently my birding friend, Roshana, stopped at our front door.  You’ve got a hawk out here, she reported.  Sure enough–a Coop.  Explains why the feeders suddenly went silent with no bird in view.coop near2coop nearThe jays have their own peanut call.  When one spots the nuts on the veranda, the call goes out, the jays converge.  This discerning shopper looks over what’s on offer…he rejects the nearest one because it is a one-nut hull…then hops to it after deciding on a particular two-nut shell.  This is not the jay who has his or her own two-nuts-per beak technique.

Where have I been all my life?  How did I never before notice the iridescent red collar on the back of the flicker’s neck?????  I consider Sibley’s large format birding guide the best of our current American field guides…HE DOES NOT SHOW THE GLOWING NECK BAND.  Read on, McDuff…Sibley does mention in the fine print, “red crescent” can be found on the nape of the “yellow-shafted” flickers, most common in the eastern part of the continent but intergrades (hybrids sorta) can be found almost anywhere, like my Oregon back yard. All I can say is “I see your drawing and raise you one blurry digital image with a point and shoot, taken through a window.” Sometimes modern tech is really wonderful.  In spite of how twitter powers our present American descent.

Shawneen Finnegan sent me this note: “Your flicker is an intergrade. It shows the red-nape crescent of a yellow-shafted but a grayish face and orange feather shafts of red-shafted.”

Also, a lesson here for me and other birders who “know” our common birds.  Yeah, that’s a robin or junco or Brewer’s Blackbird…so when was the last time you or I really looked closely? I have been glancing at flickers for over two decades, then looking at some other, less obvious bird.  I can only re-quote the late, great Rich Stallcup, “When was the last time you saw THAT robin.”  Message: look at every bird…carefully.

Whitey seems to be content to stay here all winter…he approves of the sunflower seeds we feed, sans shell, already broken up:wts forage

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