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Author Topic: BIRDS OF TENNESSEE  (Read 16310 times)

Phyl

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Re: COMMON BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #75 on: August 25, 2021, 11:02:21 AM »

Red-bellied Woodpecker


The Red-bellied Woodpecker is a regular visitor to bird feeders and is easily identified by the black and white barred pattern on its back and the red patch on the back of the head.  The name confuses many people because the "red" on the belly is faint and very difficult to see.

In Tennessee it is often mistakenly called a Red-headed Woodpecker, especially in areas where the true Red-headed Woodpecker (a bird with a completely red head) is uncommon.  The Red-bellied Woodpecker is found only in the eastern United States and is most common in the southeastern states.  While not considered migratory, birds at the northern edge of the range may move farther south in very cold winters.

Description: This medium-sized woodpecker has red on the back of the head and neck, a black and white barred back, and a white rump.  The face and underparts are pale gray, and the belly is washed with a light red (difficult to see).

The male and female can be distinguished by the extent of the red hood. In males the red extends from the base of the bill to the back of the neck; in females the red starts at the top of the head and extends to the back of the neck.

Length: 9.25"
Wingspan: 16"
Weight: 2.2 oz

Voice: The call is a trill, along with short chupp chupp chupp notes that often accelerate towards the end.

Similar Species:

Red-headed Woodpecker has a completely red head, neck, face, and throat; the back has bold black and white patches with no barring.
Habitat: Lives in a variety of dry or damp forests (deciduous or pine) and in suburban areas.

Diet: The Red-bellied Woodpecker seldom excavates wood for insects. Instead, depending on the season, it forages opportunistically on a wide range of fruit, mast, seeds, and arboreal arthropods. It occasionally eats lizards, tree frogs, small fish, nestling birds and eggs, and frequently visits bird feeders, especially suet feeders.
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A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.
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Phyl

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Re: COMMON BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #76 on: August 25, 2021, 11:02:30 AM »

Red-bellied Woodpecker, continued

Nesting and reproduction: Red-bellied Woodpeckers maintain their territories throughout the year. Nest building begins in late March or early April.

Clutch Size: Usually 4 eggs, with a range of 3 to 6.

Incubation: Both adults incubated the eggs for 12 to 14 days.

Fledging: Both adults feed the young, which leave the nest at 24 to 27 days.

Nest: The male does most of the excavation of the nest in hole, which is usually placed in a dead tree or dead limb. Eggs are laid on wood chips left from excavation. The average nest height in Tennessee is 27 feet.

Status in Tennessee: The Red-bellied Woodpecker is an abundant year round resident throughout the state and occupies all types of low-elevation forest. Their numbers are stable or slightly increasing.

Dynamic map of Red-bellied Woodpecker eBird observations in Tennessee



Fun Facts:

The Red-bellied Woodpecker is able to compete against other woodpeckers for nest holes, but it is often evicted by the European Starling. In some areas, half of all Red-bellied Woodpecker nesting cavities are taken over by starlings.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers will store food in cracks and crevices of trees and fence posts.
The tongue of the male Red-bellied Woodpecker has a wider tip than the female, and the bill is slightly longer. This may allow the male to obtain food that is unavailable to the female and thereby divide up the resources in one area.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers are attracted to noises that resonate. The male may tap loudly on metal gutters, aluminum roofs, and even on vehicles to attract a mate.
The oldest record of a Red-bellied Woodpecker in the wild was 12 years 1 month old.
#Pray for Ukraine


“God just sat down and smiled after he made cats.”~Richard Dawkins

A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.
– Lewis Gannett

Phyl

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Re: COMMON BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #77 on: August 25, 2021, 11:02:44 AM »

Red-bellied Woodpecker, continued

Obsolete English Names: zebra woodpecker, red-headed woodpecker

Best places to see in Tennessee: Found in most forests at lower elevations statewide.








Sources:
Nicholson, C. P. 1997. Atlas of Breeding Birds of Tennessee. Univ. of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.

Shackelford, C.E., R.E. Brown and R.N. Conner. 2000. Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus), The Birds of North America, No. 500 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

Sibley, D. A. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. A. A. Knopf, New York, NY.
#Pray for Ukraine


“God just sat down and smiled after he made cats.”~Richard Dawkins

A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.
– Lewis Gannett

Phyl

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Re: COMMON BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #78 on: August 25, 2021, 11:10:13 AM »

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker,
Sphyrapicus varius



The horizontal lines of feeding holes in tree trunks made by the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker are likely more familiar to people than the woodpecker itself.  The sapsucker feeds on the sap that flows into these holes and it maintains them daily to ensure sap production.

This woodpecker is fairly common in Tennessee during the non-breeding season but is one of the rarest breeding birds in the state as it is restricted to a small area in the high-elevation forests near the North Carolina border.

The breeding range of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker extends across Canada to the northeastern United States, with an isolated population in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. It migrates to the southeastern states southward to Panama and the West Indies in winter.

Description: The most distinguishing field characteristic of this medium-sized woodpecker is the vertical white stripe running down its side.  The head has a bold pattern with the forehead and crown red, bordered by black, and a black and white stripe on the face.

The upper chest is black, the belly is yellowish, and the back has messy black and whitish barring. The sexes can be distinguished with the male having a red throat, while the female has a white throat. The juveniles (July-March) have similar plumage to the adult, but lacks red on the head, and is brown where the adult is black. 

Length: 8.5"
Wingspan: 16"
Weight: 1.8 oz

Voice: The call is a nasal down-slurred mew. The drumming of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a distinctive series of 5 rapid taps followed by slowing taps.

Similar Species:

No other woodpeckers have a vertical white stripe on the side.
Habitat:

Breeds in young forests and along streams, especially in aspen and birch.
Winters in a variety of forests, especially semi-open woods.
Diet: Sap, fruit, arthropods. Also eats tree cambium.
#Pray for Ukraine


“God just sat down and smiled after he made cats.”~Richard Dawkins

A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.
– Lewis Gannett

Phyl

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Re: COMMON BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #79 on: August 25, 2021, 11:10:23 AM »

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker,, continued


Nesting and reproduction: Male and female show strong territorial fidelity year after year.

Clutch Size: 5 to 6 eggs range from 3 to 7.

Incubation: Both parents incubate the eggs for 12 to 13 days.

Fledging: Nestlings leave the nest after 25 to 29 days. They are fed insects, often mixed with sap, by both parents. The young begin feeding on sap in about 2 weeks and stay with the adults for several more weeks.

Nest: A new cavity is excavated each year and takes about 3 weeks to complete. The same tree is frequently used in subsequent years.

Status in Tennessee: The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is fairly common across the state during the winter, but is an extremely rare breeder. Tennessee is at the southern limit of the breeding range and it is generally found between 3,400 and 4,600 feet elevation in the high mountains of Johnson, Carter, Unicoi and possibly Greene Counties.

The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is listed as a bird In-Need-of-Management in the state due to its limited breeding distribution. The number of breeding pairs of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has declined in recent years and there have been few recent breeding season records.
Dynamic map of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker eBird observations in Tennessee



Fun Facts:

The isolated population of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina is considered a distinct subspecies called the Appalachian Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Sphyrapicus varius appalachiensis.
The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is the only migratory woodpecker in eastern North America. Some individuals spend the summer in the southern part of the breeding range but the majority travel to Central America. Females tend to migrate farther south than do males.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds appears to have a close relationship with sapsuckers. They sometimes place their nest near a tree with sap wells and either feed on the sap or the insects that are attracted to the sap. They may even time their migration to coincide with that of sapsuckers.
As with other species of woodpecker, the nest cavities that Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers excavate often provide nesting or roost sites for other species of birds and even some mammals (e.g., northern flying squirrel) that cannot excavate their own cavities.
#Pray for Ukraine


“God just sat down and smiled after he made cats.”~Richard Dawkins

A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.
– Lewis Gannett

Phyl

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Re: COMMON BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #80 on: August 25, 2021, 11:10:38 AM »

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker,, continued

Best places to see in Tennessee: In winter this woodpecker can be found in lower elevation forests across the state. During the breeding season, it might be found in the highest elevations of Johnson, Carter, Unicoi and possibly Greene Counties, near the North Carolina border. One site, in particular, is Sam's Gap in Unicoi County.








Sources:

Knight, R. L. 2008. The Birds of Northeast Tennessee. Universal Printing, Bristol, VA.

Nicholson, C. P. 1997. Atlas of Breeding Birds of Tennessee. Univ. of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.

Sibley, D. A. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. A. A. Knopf, New York, NY.

Walters, E.L., E.H. Miller and P.E. Lowther. 2002. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius ), The Birds of North America, No. 662 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
#Pray for Ukraine


“God just sat down and smiled after he made cats.”~Richard Dawkins

A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.
– Lewis Gannett

Phyl

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Re: COMMON BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #81 on: August 25, 2021, 11:18:33 AM »

Downy Woodpecker,
Picoides pubescens



The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest and one of the most widespread woodpeckers in North America.  It can be found year-round in forests from coast to coast and from Alaska to southern Florida. It is equally at home in urban woodlots as wilderness forests and is readily attracted to backyard bird feeders.

Description: This small black-and-white woodpecker is white below, has a plain white back, and black wings with white spotting.  The tail is black with outer tail feathers that are black-spotted or barred white.

The face is white with black stripes, and the bill is black and short.  Males and female are easily distinguished; the male has a red patch on the back of the head, and the female does not.

Length: 6.75"
Wingspan: 12"
Weight: 0.95 oz

Voice: Song is a rapid downward whinny of notes. Call is a soft quick pik.

Similar Species:

Hairy Woodpecker is very similar in plumage, but is larger and has a proportionately larger bill (see link below). They give an even-pitched rattle song, and a stronger sharper peek call note.
Habitat: In Tennessee the Downy Woodpecker is found in all forest types, but is somewhat less common in pine forests and at high elevations. It is commonly seen in backyards and readily visits bird feeders, especially suet feeders.

Diet: Downy Woodpeckers use their bills to drill into trees and dig out insects like beetles, wasps, moths and insect larvae. They will also drink sap from Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers holes. In Tennessee they are occasionally seen foraging on dead corn stalks in fall and winter.
#Pray for Ukraine


“God just sat down and smiled after he made cats.”~Richard Dawkins

A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.
– Lewis Gannett

Phyl

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Re: COMMON BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #82 on: August 25, 2021, 11:18:43 AM »

Downy Woodpecker, , continued

Nesting and reproduction: Males maintain territories throughout the year. Breeding behavior begins in late winter with the male and female drumming in response to one another. The female chooses the nest site and the male does most of the cavity excavation.

Clutch Size: Usually 4 to 5 eggs, with a range of 3 to 6. In Tennessee, egg laying peaks in mid- to late April.

Incubation: Both parents incubate the eggs for about 12 days.

Fledging: Both parents care for the chicks, which fledge in 20 to 25 days. They remain dependent on the parents for another 3 weeks.

Nest: A new nest is made annually, usually in the trunk of a dead tree or the dead branch of a live tree. The nest takes 13 to 20 days to complete. The average nest height in Tennessee is 17 feet above the ground.

Status in Tennessee: The Downy Woodpecker is probably the most abundant woodpecker found throughout the state. The population appears stable.

Dynamic map of Downy Woodpecker eBird observations in Tennessee



Fun Facts:

Foraging techniques vary with sex; males tend to forage more on smaller branches in the upper canopy; females more on larger branches and trunks of trees. Males appear to keep the females from foraging in the more productive spots. When males were experimentally removed from a woodlot, the females shifted their foraging to the smaller branches.
Each bird excavates a winter roost cavity.
American colonial naturalist Mark Catesby (1683-1749) named this woodpecker. "Downy" refers to the soft white feathers of the white lower back, in contrast to the similar, but more hair-like feathers of the Hairy Woodpecker.
The oldest known Downy Woodpecker in the wild was 11 years 11 months old.
#Pray for Ukraine


“God just sat down and smiled after he made cats.”~Richard Dawkins

A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.
– Lewis Gannett

Phyl

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Re: COMMON BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #83 on: August 25, 2021, 11:18:54 AM »

Downy Woodpecker, , continued

Obsolete English Names: willow woodpecker

Best places to see in Tennessee: Nearly all forests statewide, excluding some high elevations in East Tennessee and pine plantations.







Sources:

Jackson, J. A., and H. R. Ouellet. 2002. Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens). The Birds of North America, No. 613 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

Nicholson, C. P. 1997. Atlas of Breeding Birds of Tennessee. Univ. Tennessee Press, Knoxville.

Sibley, D. A. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. A. A. Knopf, New York, NY.
#Pray for Ukraine


“God just sat down and smiled after he made cats.”~Richard Dawkins

A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.
– Lewis Gannett

Phyl

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Re: COMMON BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #84 on: August 25, 2021, 06:50:11 PM »

Hairy Woodpecker,
Picoides villosus


The larger of two 'look-a-likes'.

The Hairy Woodpecker is a powerful woodpecker and usually forages on the truck and main branches of large trees in mature forests.  It is the most widespread resident woodpecker in North America, but not as abundant or familiar as the smaller similar-appearing Downy Woodpecker.

The Hairy Woodpecker is non-migratory and ranges across North America south to Central America. In residential areas with large trees, this woodpecker often visits birdfeeders. The Hairy Woodpecker's name is derived from the long, filamentous white or whitish feathers in the middle of its back, but this is not a good characteristic to use to identify this bird in the field

Description: This medium-sized black-and-white woodpecker is white below, has a plain white back and black wings with white spotting.  The tail is black in the center with white outer tail feathers.

The face is white with black stripes, and the bill is black, thick, and nearly as long as the head. Males and females are easily distinguished; the male has a red patch on the back of the head, and the female does not.

Length: 9.25"
Wingspan: 15"
Weight: 2.3 oz.
Voice: The song is a short even-pitched rattle. The call is a strong sharp peek.

Similar Species:

Downy Woodpeckers are very similar in plumage, but are smaller, and have a proportionately smaller bill (see link below). Their song is a rapid downward whinny of notes, and the call is a soft quick pik. The Hairy and Downy call-notes are distinguishable with practice.
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have smudgy barring in the white on the back and a white stripe on the side.
Habitat: Found in most forest types in Tennessee, but tends to occur in larger, more mature woodlands than the smaller and similar appearing Downy Woodpecker. Studies have shown that Hairy Woodpeckers are attracted to forests that have recently burned, probably due to increased food resources in dead and dying trees. They also occur in residential areas with large trees and visit bird feeders, especially suet feeders.

Diet: Insects and other arthropods, fruits, and seeds. Males tend to forage higher than females in winter.

#Pray for Ukraine


“God just sat down and smiled after he made cats.”~Richard Dawkins

A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.
– Lewis Gannett

Phyl

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Re: COMMON BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #85 on: August 25, 2021, 06:51:55 PM »

Hairy Woodpecker,, continued

Nesting and reproduction: Hairy Woodpecker pairs maintain territories throughout the year and may remain mated for several years. Breeding behavior begins in late fall with the male and female drumming in response to one another.

Clutch Size: Usually 4 to 5 eggs, with a range of 3 to 6. In Tennessee, egg laying is usually mid- to late April.

Incubation: Both parents incubate the eggs for about 11 to 12 days.

Fledging: Both parents care for the young, which fledge in 28 to 30 days. They remain dependent on the parents for several more weeks.

Nest: The pair usually excavates a new nest annually in the trunk of a dead tree. The nest takes 7 to 24 days to complete. The average nest height in Tennessee is 20 feet above the ground.

Status in Tennessee: This woodpecker is an uncommon permanent resident across the state. It is not as numerous, nor as tame, as the Downy Woodpecker. Population appears stable.

Dynamic map of Hairy Woodpecker eBird observations in Tennessee


Fun Facts:

The Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers occur together throughout most of their ranges. The Downy Woodpecker uses smaller branches, while the Hairy Woodpecker tends to spend more time on the trunk.
The Hairy Woodpecker is attracted to foraging Pileated Woodpeckers and will take insects in the deep excavations that the Pileated missed.
The oldest recorded Hairy Woodpecker in the wild was 15 years 10 months old.
Obsolete English Names: Cabanis' woodpecker

Best places to see in Tennessee: Found in large tracts of forest with large trees across the state.
#Pray for Ukraine


“God just sat down and smiled after he made cats.”~Richard Dawkins

A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.
– Lewis Gannett

Phyl

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Re: COMMON BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #86 on: August 25, 2021, 06:53:55 PM »

Hairy Woodpecker, continued



Sources:

Jackson, J. A., H. R. Ouellet, and B. J. S. Jackson. 2002. Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus). The Birds of North America, No. 702 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Nicholson, C. P. 1997. Atlas of Breeding Birds of Tennessee. Univ. of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.

Sibley, D. A. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. A. A. Knopf, New York, NY.
#Pray for Ukraine


“God just sat down and smiled after he made cats.”~Richard Dawkins

A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.
– Lewis Gannett

Phyl

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Re: COMMON BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #87 on: August 26, 2021, 03:50:46 PM »

Northern Flicker
Colaptes auratus



Northern Flickers are unlike most other Tennessee woodpeckers in that they are primarily brown instead of black and white, and often feed on the ground.  In fact Northern Flickers eat more ants than any other bird in North America.

They are easy to identify, especially on the wing, with their strong undulating flight and prominent white rump.  Northern Flickers are found across North America from the northern extent of forest in Alaska and Canada, to Cuba and Central America.  The northernmost birds migrate south in winter.

This woodpecker was formerly called the Yellow-shafted Flicker in the East and the Red-shafted Flicker in the West because of their distinctly colored wing-linings. They are now recognized as belonging to the same species.

Description: This medium to large woodpecker is overall brownish with barring on its back, clear round spots on its breast, and a black crescent on its chest.  In flight the white rump is conspicuous, as are the yellow wing-linings (red in western birds).

Eastern birds also have a red crescent on the nape of the neck. Males and females are similar but only males have a black mustache stripe on the face (red in western birds).

Length: 12.5"
Wingspan: 20"
Weight: 4.6 oz

Voice: The territorial call is a long series of wick wick wick notes, rising and falling in volume and lasting 7 or 8 seconds. This call is similar to the call of the Pileated Woodpecker. Northern Flickers also make a loud kyeer note.

Similar Species:

The Pileated Woodpecker call resembles that of the Northern Flicker wick wick wick call, but is louder and changes in pitch, and rhythm.
No other Tennessee woodpecker has the combination of overall brown coloration with bright white rump.
Habitat: Northern Flickers are found in open woodlands, forest edges, including cities and suburbs, and will visit backyard bird feeders. They nest in almost all forest types found in Tennessee.

Diet: Mostly ants but also beetle larvae, and during late autumn, winter and early spring, a variety of berries.
#Pray for Ukraine


“God just sat down and smiled after he made cats.”~Richard Dawkins

A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.
– Lewis Gannett

Phyl

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Re: COMMON BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #88 on: August 26, 2021, 03:53:18 PM »

Northern Flickercontinued

Nesting and reproduction: Males and females vigorously defend the space around their nest tree but do not defend a feeding territory, probably because their food sources are not economically defendable.

Clutch Size: 4 to 8 eggs.

Incubation: The male incubates the eggs more than the female, and the eggs hatch in 11 to 14 days.

Fledging: Both adults feed the young regurgitated food. They leave the nest after 24 to 28 days and remain with the parents for a few additional weeks.

Nest: Northern Flickers frequently reuse a nest cavity from a previous year. Males do most of the excavation of new cavities in a dead tree or the dead limb of a live tree. They will occasionally dig cavities in wooden utility poles and fence posts. Excavation time is about 12 days. Nest heights in Tennessee have been recorded from 4 to 45 feet with an average of 18 feet. Competition for cavities with European Starlings is common.

Status in Tennessee: Northern Flickers are a fairly common permanent resident, and are more numerous in the winter due to the arrival of migrants from northern breeding areas. Numbers in Tennessee are declining, possibly due to competition with the European Starling for nest cavities.

Dynamic map of Northern Flicker eBird observations in Tennessee

Fun Facts:

More than any other woodpecker, Northern Flickers forage on the ground. Very few birds eat ants, but they are a favorite food of flickers and they will dig in the dirt to find them.
Northern Flickers have been known to cause property damage by drilling holes in wood and synthetic stucco siding, and eaves of houses.
Woodpeckers "drum" to attract mates, and to establish and/or defend a territory. This can be annoying to people when the drumming is on or near houses. Northern Flickers often select wooden shingles, cedar or redwood siding, metal or plastic gutters, television antennas, chimney caps, and light posts because these materials produce loud sounds. Drumming is most common in the spring during early morning and late afternoon and usually ends by July 1. (See below for control methods.)
The oldest known Northern Flicker in the wild was 9 years 2 months old.
#Pray for Ukraine


“God just sat down and smiled after he made cats.”~Richard Dawkins

A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.
– Lewis Gannett

Phyl

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Re: COMMON BIRDS OF TENNESSEE
« Reply #89 on: August 26, 2021, 03:56:20 PM »

Northern Flicker,  continued

Obsolete English Names: yellow-shafted flicker, southern flicker, yellowhammer, golden-winged woodpecker

Best places to see in Tennessee: Every county in the state.







Sources:

Moore, W. S. 1995. Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus). The Birds of North America, No. 166 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

Nicholson, C. P. 1997. Atlas of Breeding Birds of Tennessee. Univ. of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.

Sibley, D. A. 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds. A. A. Knopf, New York, NY.
#Pray for Ukraine


“God just sat down and smiled after he made cats.”~Richard Dawkins

A man who never sees a bluebird only half lives.
– Lewis Gannett
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