[Tweeters] A Frozen Flicker and Busy Bandtails - 1/1/15

Barbara Deihl barbdeihl at comcast.net
Sun Jan 11 14:52:41 PST 2015

This morning I had a flicker seemingly stuck to a suet feeder hanging just beyond a window of the house, behind which was I. I had first seen it eating away and moving around on the feeder. Then suddenly I saw that it was motionless and no other feeding birds were visible near this feeder. I was able to carefully make my way toward the window - it didn't fly off as would normally happen. It stayed in place for almost 15 min., with its bill angled upward and nary a detectable movement. I moved away from the window - it stayed put. In a few minutes, as I slowly walked back to check on it, it started some slow movements of its head, looking out into the yard, its eyes glinting occasionally as it checked the scene for danger, but the rest of its body was not moving yet. It then, very slowly started to exercise the rest of its body and finally focused back on the feeder and started taking minute pecks at the suet cake, while looking constantly out into the rest of the yard. Then suddenly, the coast must have been clear and it flew off, off and away. WHEW !

I have not yet seen an accipiter in the yard this winter, but have seen some telltale signs - small bits of featherage from unlucky birds, sudden silent times with no passerines out in the open. I keep expecting to find a Band-tailed Pigeon corpse under a bush or just on the ground, because there are upward of 3 dozen pigeons that frequent the yard, usually in the afternoon - (could this be a roving band of bandtails, the same group that Dennis P has seen at his place, a couple miles away?) After blasting off out of the big deciduous trees in which they had been perched, evenly spaced throughout a couple of them like holiday decorations, they settle back onto other trees, recognizing that that little gnomelike human figure (me) walking by, is no serious threat and is possibly going to put out more delectables for them. They sure are loud flappers...it is quite startling when they flee madly in a chaotic-looking mass, into the trees to escape us 'predators'.

Somewhere out there for certain, a Sharpie is smirking, biding its time until the flappy birds head back to perch and get back to the business of gorging themselves and it can try again to take them unawares... And I, too am biding my time for the moment I see it - I do see at least one every winter, ready to avail itself of the plentiful fare the Barboretum provides :-)

Barb Deihl
Matthews Beach Neighborhood - NE Seattle
barbdeihl at comcast.net

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