Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Northern Flicker - Female Daytime Incubation

Northern Flicker

This female responded to my phishing on May 20, 2013. Females have the daytime incubation shift. The male will take over for the night duties.
I saw a flicker emerge and fly from the hole on May 7th and the excavation was still in progress on April 27th. Somewhere between these two dates the nest was completed and egg laying started. The usual clutch is 6 to 8 eggs, and a week is necessary to lay a daily egg. 
If I presume egg laying started on or just before May 7th, then by today, the eggs must all be laid, and incubation has been in progress for two weeks for the first egg. Incubation takes 11 to 13 days, which suggests the first egg might have already hatched.

The nestlings will be fed by the parents and will be strong enough to feed at the nest hole by 3 weeks of age. As such, I might be lucky to see this activity in the days just before June 11th and for the week or so after.


The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

Beadle D, Rising J. Sparrows of the United States and Canada. Princeton UP. 2003. 

Fisher C, Acorn J. Birds of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. 1998.

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

Tudge Colin. The Bird. Crown Publishers. New York. 2008.

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