Oh, that’s the Woody Woodpecker’s tune
Ho-ho-ho ho ho! Ho-ho-ho ho ho!
Makes the other woodpeckers swoon”
Here are some interesting facts about Northern Flickers:
-You can often see a drumming bird pause, move its head just an inch or so away, and then begin drumming again with a very different quality of sound. Flicker drumming lasts about a second, during which the bird strikes the tree around 25 times. Drumming in woodpeckers takes the place of singing in songbirds. I guess if you spend your time beating your head against things it’s hard to sing.
-It is the only woodpecker that commonly feeds on the ground. It uses its slightly curved beak to find ants and beetles in the ground laping them up with its long barbed tongue.
-Early in spring and summer, rivals may face off in a display sometimes called a “fencing duel,” while a prospective mate looks on. Two birds face each other on a branch, bills pointed upward, and bob their heads in time while drawing a loop or figure-eight pattern in the air, often giving a rhythmic wicka calls at the same time.
-It is is one of the few woodpecker species that migrate.
-Although their numbers have been on the decline for the past 20 years northern flicker populations are not seriously endangered by human activity, although human activity sometimes destroys their habitat. Few conservation measures are being taken because they are not recognized as endangered. As a migratory North American bird it is protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Act.
-Like many woodpeckers, its flight is undulating. The repeated cycle of a quick succession of flaps followed by a pause creates an effect comparable to a rollercoaster.
-There are over 100 common names for the Northern Flicker. Among them are: Yellowhammer, clape, gaffer woodpecker, harry-wicket, heigh-ho, wake-up, walk-up, wick-up, yarrup, and gawker bird.
-It is the Alabama state bird.
For more information about this beautiful creature (including the sound of his drumming) see The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds.