Monday, April 8, 2013

Eastern Bluebirds and Territorial Northern Flickers

Today's morning stop at Wildwood Cemetery in Ashland gave me a good look at one of my favorites, Eastern Bluebirds.

The male was flying down to the ground, getting something to eat, and then returning to a perch, either on a tombstone or on a nearby tree branch.  The female wouldn't come near me, so I only got a shot of her off in a distant tree.  You just have to love their brilliant coloring in the early spring muted brown world we are still in.

 See the female?  You may need to click on the photo to enlarge it!

I was about to quit for the morning and head home when a ruckus broke out in the trees.   For a few moments, I thought there might be a Pileated Woodpecker in the area.  But it wasn't.   A couple of Northern Flickers were battling over territorial boundaries.  Since the town cut down so many of the old, rotting trees, I bet the available nesting areas in the cemetery are much more in demand than they were last year at this time.

Remember the Downy Woodpeckers I saw quarreling over territory a few weeks ago?  The male Northern Flickers were behaving quite similarly:  pointing bills in the air and chasing each other from branch to branch.  

The brightness setting is off in these photos, but I wanted the birds to show up!   I took a short video, too, which you will find below. I just love being a witness to behaviors like this!  I had to go home before they were finished!  It went on for quite some time!

The coloring of these birds (who belong to the woodpecker family) is really stunning!

See the beautiful yellow underside of the tail feathers?  The underside of the wings are also colored this way.  Flickers in the western part of the US have red on the underside of their wings and tail feathers.  I've never seen the western version.

This is a very short clip.