A tall Doug fir on the bluff is a favorite with birds. We call it the low-down tree because only the top of it rises above the bluff. The first Thanksgiving we spent here, I spotted an unknown bird and grabbed binoculars, I watched wind fluff its feathers – black chest blaze like a bib, black polka dots on white, red cheek patch, and rusty orange highlights: northern flicker – a red-shafted male.
The flicker was the first bird I identified from the book “Birds of the Puget Sound Region” – such a pleasure to put a name to that beauty. Flickers (woodpeckers) consort with robins, often joining them for flocking events. Robins seem not so impressed by stylish good looks as I am. Robins can shoulder the larger flicker from the birdbath.
Ants can be nearly half a flicker’s diet. They feed often on the ground like robins, but are the only woodpecker to do so.