Posted by: atowhee | December 18, 2020


For the second time this month I have seen a flicker pestering an accipiter. First time it was a Sharpie. Today, in our garden, it was a Coop. The flicker has a special sharp scream he uses when he flies at the hawk or when he is being chased.

I first noticed the Coop sitting on our fence mid-morning. Watching is his thing, watch and try to ambush. He stared at me, unimpressed by size or slowness on my part. Later in the morning I first noted the flicker. From high in one of the conifers came the sharp “clear” call. I didn’t see the woodpecker at that time. Shortly after lunch I was working in the back garden where several large bare deciduous trees tower over our house and the neighbor’s large open garden. Usually I see squirrels doing acrobatics through the branches. This time it was flicker fly at Coop, then Coop giving chase and flicker taunting the raptor with that special call. “You missed me, bozo!” Gotta say it reminded me of American political rhetoric, circa 2020.

I researched a bit and found that flicker meat is one of the Coop’s favorite meals so the mutual enmity makes a lot of sense. The hawk’s presence does frighten off the siskins and other tiny morsels but he is really more interested in starling, Mourning Dove, Collared-Dove, robin-sized portions.

COOP GALLERY–From the fence the juvie (first year bird) flew up into the nearby bare gum tree, still watching.

I asked Marty what he saw as the owls hunted and how they went after what they heard beneath the snow:
“Several attacks. Some head first some appeared feet or chest  first. Sometimes it was hard to tell. That’s the trouble when a person is busy taking pictures.”
Marty just sent me a third photo, hold your breath–this shows the GGO going face first into the snow!!!!!!!!! Padded face, those exposed legs ore vulnerable, a broken leg would mean death, the face is like a heavily padded little hammer.

Click here to see Marty’s smugmug photo gallery and check it out in coming days as he has many more images to post from today’s adventure.

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