Friday, December 11, 2015

Red Car Canyon: Northern Flicker In Dead Eucalyptus Tree

Photo: Diane Edwardson, December 9, 2015.  While walking through Red Car Canyon, I heard a bird singing a tune I didn't recognize.  It was the only bird in the canyon who did not seem to care about the Great Horned Owl sitting in a pine tree, 50' away.  Unfortunately, this was the best shot I could get of the Northern Flicker, a large species of woodpecker.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Northern Flicker is a migratory bird that eats ants, beetles and other insect larvae found underground.  That might explain why the previous times I have seen this bird, it was only on the north end of the Red Car Property.   There are a number of native Harvester Ant colonies on the north end of the property.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, December 9, 2015.  The Flicker was so hard to find and photograph because he was practically at the top of the 75' tall, dead Eucalyptus tree in the the densely wooded canyon.  (DWP contractors trimmed some branches, near the power lines, from the tree earlier this year.)

Note: I'm not a bird watcher.  I generally pay attention to birds because they will alert you to a predator like a hawk or an owl, or even a cat.  I listen for the unusual or alarmed calls, or when suddenly there are no birds calling at all.  I look around near the tree tops and sometimes, I find something interesting.