Photo of the Week - June 29, 2012

Adult Male Northern Flicker
feeding a Male Juvenile Northern Flicker
in a Nest Box
Colaptes auratus

Pierce County, WA
June 29, 2012

Breeding season for Northern Flickers occurs between March and June. Incubation of the 5-8 eggs laid is by both sexes. Both parents feed the young in the nest for up to 4 weeks. Feeding continues after the juveniles leave the nest, as the young birds learn to forage on their own.  

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Nestwatch Resource Center, "The nestlings are fed regurgitant by both parents. After three weeks, the young can climb to the entrance and meet the parents for food. After 24 to 28 days, the parents coax the young to leave the nest by withholding food and calling to them. When they leave the nest, the fledglings can fly short distances and they do not return to the nest site. The fledglings depend upon the parents for food and protection for two to three weeks. Family groups are often seen feeding together into late summer."

Flickers can also be identified by their loud call that sounds like wake-up, wake-up, wake-up; also a piercing, sharply descending peeahr.

In flight, Flickers show the reddish undersides of their wings and distinct white rump patch.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's excellent web page on Northern Flickers, including information on preventing conflicts with Flickers on your property.

Photo of the Week - June 18, 2012

Willow Flycatcher landing on Snag
Empidonax traillii
Black River, Littlerock, Washington
June 18, 2012

According to the cliche, we are all creatures of habit. That certainly holds true for me. When traveling between Olympia and Seattle, I often stop at a certain Starbucks to get a cup of coffee to enjoy on the road. And, on Saturday morning, it is not unusual to find me at the library, picking up a new book or movie.

While this seems obvious, what may not seem so obvious is that humans are not the only ones who are entrenched in their habits. The first two photos of this post were made June 18, 2012. The last photo was taken June 6, 2011 at the same location.

If you want to take a cliche from the ordinary to the extraordinary, consider the Willow Flycatcher. Willow Flycatchers are about 5.75 inches long. They weigh about 0.5 ounces. By comparison, a penny weighs 0.88 ounces.

Willow Flycatchers migrate from the tropics - a distance of 4,000 miles or more.

It has been one year since I photographed the bird at the bottom of this post. Today, I returned to the same isolated, willow-draped pond, hoping to see a flycatcher. I was rewarded by the same bird, or possibly one of its offspring, singing the distinctive "fitz-bew" call from the very same snag.

An 8,000 mile round trip ending at the same place it began - that's amazing!

Flycatcher photographed June 6, 2011
On the same snag as the top photo
of this blog post

Photo of the Week - June 16, 2012

Capital Criterium Bicycle Race
Washington State Capitol Campus
Olympia, WA
June 16, 2012

Today was Stage 3 of the 2nd Annual Capital Stage Race, a three day event featuring a variety of timed bicycle racing events. Cyclists in Stage 3 ride a 0.7 mile circuit around the State Capitol Campus. There were races for men, women, youth and even children. The overcast weather made for pleasant riding conditions.

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