Monday, June 24, 2013

Northern Flicker Sibs at Nest Hole

Northern Flicker Sibs at Nest Hole

I've been patiently hoping to see young flickers at the nest hole waiting to be fed by the parents. This is expected at about 3 weeks of age. 

Finally, on June 20th, I saw the first young flicker. The next day I saw two different flickers at the nest hole, and on June 23rd, the photos suggest that I saw up to four different young flickers. I cannot fathom how they all fit in that one nest. Presumably the adults no longer reside in the nest.

This is the first young flicker. I must have expected to see something less like a small "adult," because my first thought was that this was the mother. Then the fresh feathers and the short bill made me realize this was a young flicker.

The flicker in the above two photos is clearly different. The clutch is usually 6 to 8 eggs and I wondered how many there might be in the nest.
On June 23rd, this female was watching at an adjacent tree as I watched the nestlings. 
While I watched, one young flicker, then another, then a third, and then possibly a fourth emerged from the nest hole. Each stayed for about a minute and then backed up into the nest. I sensed that the young birds were taking turns, and I imagined the siblings below pestering the one at the entrance, "Hurry up, it's my turn." 
Often, but not always the young flicker vocalized.
This is clearly a third new young flicker with a definite malar mustache. 

The young birds have clearly grown since the photos two days earlier on June 21st. 
They looked around, to each side, up and down, perhaps looking for a parent to arrive and feed them.
If this clutch did hold 6 to 8 eggs, I cannot imagine the nest with this many birds. On both June 22nd and June 23rd I saw a young flicker perched at the top of a spruce tree in the adjacent forest. I heard the flicker call and then saw the bird on the tree top. The bird was clearly smaller and slimmer than the adults. Likely this bird hatched first and fledged first. 

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