New Visitor to our yard

by Lisa
(Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada)

Breakfast spot...

Breakfast spot...

A pair of Yellow Shafted Flickers showed up on the lawn this morning. A couple of hours later I spotted one of them in the front yard on the sidewalk. He(she?) located one of many ant highways between 2 sections of sidewalk. He spent the better part of 1/2 hour grabbing breakfast.

I took a number of pics and some video. I am curious about the feather fluffing and wing stretching behaviour. I hope they stick around and breed.

The Flicker is very different from his other cousins in the woodpecker family. As you have noted he loves to eat on the ground, rather than trees. His curved bill is more of a pickaxe than a hammer or drill. Ants are chiefly his diet. He has been known to eat three thousand of them for a single meal. When feeding babies, they regurgitate partly digested food from their stomach into those of their hungry babies. Imagine how many trips they would have to make if they carried ants one by one!

This handsome fellow spreads his tail and dances when he is courting.

Enjoy! Susan

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