Saturday, March 14, 2009


Yesterday a bird hit one of our windows -- which happens a lot. I glanced outside and didn't see anything so I figured it had already flown away. A few hours later, I let the dogs out and low and behold, Luci found the bird. It hopped away but couldn't fly. I watched it for a while and realized it had broken a wing.

I went in, called my mom, and tried to figure out what to do. She told me to email a Contra Costa Times writer, which I did, and found out he was out of town. So I called the 24-hour emergency vet hospital and they referred me to the Linsday Wildlife Museum which has a hospital. I went to their website. Birds that hit windows are usually dazed but recover in minutes. It had been hours since the bird had hit the window. The site said to put it in a box and store it in a warm, quiet, dark place. I did this. The bird did not want to stay in the box. It kept getting it's head stuck in the openings on the side.

This morning I took it into the hospital. They told me it was a Flicker.

As you can see, it is a very beautiful bird. Some facts about the Northern Flicker:

  • Although it can climb up the trunks of trees and hammer on wood like other woodpeckers, the Northern Flicker prefers to find food on the ground. Ants are its favorite food, and the flicker digs in the dirt to find them. It uses its long barbed tongue to lap up the ants.
  • The red-shafted and yellow-shafted forms of the Northern Flicker formerly were considered different species. The two forms hybridize extensively in a wide zone from Alaska to the panhandle of Texas. A hybrid often has some traits from each of the two forms and some traits that are intermediate between them. The Red-shafted Flicker also hybridizes with the Gilded Flicker, but less frequently, and the Gilded Flicker is considered a separate species.
  • The Northern Flicker is one of the few North American woodpeckers that is strongly migratory. Flickers in the northern parts of the range move south for the winter, although a few individuals often stay rather far north.


Sarah Smith said...

So the bird is fine now? And yes, pretty bird, pretty bird.

Why do birds fly into your windows on a regular basis? Are you keeping your windows too clean?! lol.

Sarah Smith said...

PS I like the new page header!

Hilary Castles said...

tee hee. you must come and see my home some time. we have huge HUGE windows on a vaulted ceiling--at the second floor level. We are thinking of getting them tinted or something. I guess they reflect the landscape...I dunno. It's quite common though with big bay windows and such.

Thanks...I haven't gotten my hands on Photoshop yet so I couldn't do anything too fancy!

Eliza Winters said...

Beautiful bird! Looks like one that I saw when I was out testing my new trapping supplies . So sad that it got smashed on your window.