It is amazing the wildlife that exists in your own backyard. There are so many birds if you just stop, watch and listen.
Northern Flicker, Barred Owl and Pileated Woodpecker
Look at this little beauty – silly Northern Flicker – I don’t know if it was this one or not but one of them kept pecking at my chimney which is a bright shinny stainless steel and before you know it, it was falling down and into the fire place – about 25 feet, plop right into the ashes. Good thing I was home and good thing I hadn’t cleaned out the ashes or it would have been a hard landing. I have a strange round fire place / wood stove and the door opens upward, so I tried to open the door with a big towel in front of it in order to catch it, but it was too fast and flew right up to the ceiling, leaving a big imprint of its wing span in a nice charcoal gray. After flying into a few windows it finally flew out the door.
The other day I was on my way to the Great Horned Owl site and heard the robins going crazy in forest next to my house, I knew that meant an owl must be near. So I grabbed my camera and binoculars out of my car. There I found a beautiful Barred Owl being harassed by the robins and the spotted towhees. They were dive bombing Barred and getting quite a few hits in, so he/she decided to lay low. All of a sudden a Cooper’s Hawk sailed in making quite a racket! All the small birds just as suddenly went quiet. At first I thought the Cooper’s Hawk was a Pileated Woodpecker because of the call and I had just been chasing one a bit earlier in the day, see below. A while later Barred called “hoo-hoo, too-Hoo; hoo, hoo, too-Hoo, ooo” and another Barred (we’ll call Barr-et) called back from the other side of the property. So I think there may be a pair here and possibly a nest! I’ll keep searching…
This woodpecker is the off spring of resident Pileated Woodpeckers that have been here for years. I was surprised by her colour, she is so brown, I have not been able to find any reference to brown Pileateds, so if anyone out there has knowledge about this let me know, maybe it is immature? Included is a picture of a mature Pileated that I took earlier this year, you can see the difference in the colour, the mature one is also a male, you can tell the difference on the face, the male has a red stripe near its beak and more red on the forehead whereas the female has a black stripe by the beak and a sort of grey brown forehead.