08 March 2006

The Inevitable

I woke up this morning, International Women’s Day, hearing the loud “wick wick wick wick wick” of a Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus).

[Colaptes auratus, by the way, means golden or gilded pecker! OK, OK. I went for the potty joke. Colaptes auratus does mean that, but “pecker” in the sense “to peck like a bird.” The “golden” originally referred only to the yellow-shafted flicker.]

Back to the original point, please.

Hearing the song of a Northern Flicker means that spring, that elusive, yet inevitable season we seem to all crave in late winter, is approaching. The Flicker was singing “Spring.” How do I know? Well, most birds aren’t singing at all in the winter. They have no need, no interest; they have no territories to proclaim, no mates to secure. You will hear birds vocalizing but not singing the “song.”

I’ve noticed Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapilla) singing their Spring song for several weeks. They will occasssionlly do that on a gloriously warm and sunny winter day.

In 1995 I had a dream about Flickers and made a computer “painting” of that dream. Here, then, for your viewing pleasure...

This is my journal entry for 10/18/1995:

“I dreamed a huge 100+ flock of Yellow Shafted Flickers were in 3 clumps in the yard with 2 deer. At least one of the deer had young velvety antlers.”

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