Thursday, April 11, 2024

Northern Flicker, violets, and ants

This male Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) spent much time foraging in my lawn yesterday afternoon, April 10. Ground-bound flickers are often hunting ants. It may have been no coincidence that he was particularly interested in the patches of Common Blue Violets (Viola sororia) which, of course, I let run rampant (no chemicals here). Ants are a big food source for flickers, and ants are also major dispersers of violet seeds. I suspect that my feral native violet colonies have abetted the formation of ant colonies, thus helping to feed this flicker. A "wild" lawnscape attracts much more in the way of wildlife than neatly manicured lawns dowsed with chemicals. A beautiful Fox Sparrow recently graced my backyard for the better part of two weeks, and I was treated to his lovely, whistled song daily, and scores of Dark-eyed Juncos and White-throated Sparrows overwintered. The Eastern Cottontails are in full courting mode, the local Red Squirrel, as always, tries to exert his dominance over the much larger Eastern Gray Squirrels, and Carolina Chickadees and Eastern Bluebirds are busily investigating my nest boxes. Not bad for a suburban lot!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your article. This week a Northern Flicker made a lot of noise pecking on my metal chimney cap. Seemed strange as there was no damage and food for him. Still there was a lot of noise and repeated often each day for about a week. There were many flickers in the yard. I suspect he was calling for a flash mob.