[Tweeters] Subject: Re: Northern flickers

Dee Dee deedeeknit at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 25 15:44:01 PDT 2018

Over the past several 4-5 days, we’ve had two flickers in our yard who spent hours close together doing what I call “beak dancing”, head bobbing, “statue game” behavior of sudden freezing of movement in whatever position they were in at the moment (all of this pretty much in unison) before resuming “beak dancing”, wing fluttering and tail flashing, short hop-flights off the ground/fence/utility pole fluttering at and around each other, etc. I pointed them out to my husband since we had watched this behavior in past years, and he also asked “isn’t this the wrong time of year for that?”

Yesterday morning we noticed the beak action, fluttering together, and head bobbing“ start to include the “chase me” behavior as we have seen in past years as well. In the afternoon I happened to glance out the window and their quick fluttering caught my eye just in time to see them engage in one quick but unmistakable act of copulatory behavior before separating and flying off. If it’s the wrong time of year, apparently it matters not to these two. Practice?

Two additional tidbits of information—
- one of them appeared to be an intergrade, showing yellow in the shafts and a hint of dull red crescent at the nape of the neck. The other had normal red-shafted feathers. Neither had either black or red malar, but both had faint brownish malar like a female red-shafted. All quite confusing to sort out who is who and/or what. I was not terribly surprised as we’ve had individuals sporting yellow-shafts in the neighborhood in prior years.

- Sadly, one had a deformed foot, bent under, which reminded me of the “bumble foot” that would occasionally afflict one of our yard fowl when I was a youngster. However, it certainly was not slowing down the days of courting behavior as far as I could tell.


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