Posted by: atowhee | February 18, 2023


The flicker is a keystone species here in western Oregon, and in many other places. Of the many holes chiseled out by flickers, some get used by bluebirds, wrens, chickadees, mammals like flying squirrels, kestrel and even Bufflehead. A healthy flicker population aids the survival and nesting of other creatures that lack the built-in woodworking tools. Here in our garden I have seen the flickers become keystone because of another skillful use of that beak. A flicker will hang onto the suet feeder and dine. As it chisels through the wire frame, bits of suet are knocked loose and fall below. Now I have seen juncos, yellow-rump and even Varied Thrush down on the rocks below the flicker’s favored feeder. They are dining on select crumbs. Today I saw the female flicker note the thrush below, then she dropped down and began to peck up her own leavings. The thrush exited quietly, but will return. At one point this morning the warbler was perched nearby, watching the flicker at table. Envy perhaps?

Here are two members of the suet recovery team, making sure the suet leavings are not really left:

Click here for my piece on Salem Reporter website about Varied Thrush.

Lake Powell reaches a new low. This is an era where new lows are nothing new, right? Click here for the numbers.

How bad the avian flu has been in some places–click here.

954 Ratcliff Drive SE, Marion, Oregon, US
Feb 18, 2023
16 species

Wild Turkey  17
Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
Mourning Dove  16
Northern Flicker  2
California Scrub-Jay  X
American Crow  3
Black-capped Chickadee  3
Bushtit  20
Varied Thrush  5     high count for this location
Lesser Goldfinch  4
American Goldfinch  30
Fox Sparrow  2
Dark-eyed Junco  30
Song Sparrow  1
Spotted Towhee  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1     myrtle


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