Wild Birds Unlimited Newsletter
~ For those passionate about birding and nature ~
Nov 1st, 2016                                                                                              Volume 11.16
Nature News

High Desert Bird of the Month
Northern Flicker
 
BOM:  Northern Flicker
Scientific name:  Colaptes auratus  

How to identify:  Northern Flickers are large, brown woodpeckers with handsome black-scalloped plumage that live year-round in Nevada.  Their brown plumage is richly patterned with black spots, bars, and crescents.  The red-shafted (western) and yellow-shafted (eastern) forms of Northern Flickers were once classified as different species.  Red-shafted or yellow-shafted refers to the color of the undersides of wing and tail feathers. The two forms hybridize extensively in the area between their two ranges.  It is not unusual at all to see a hybrid here, sometimes with yellow wing and tail feathers and the red mustache; or red-shafted with red nape crescent instead of red mustache.
Habitat:  Look for flickers in open habitats near trees, including woodlands, edges, yards, and parks. In the West you can find them in mountain forests all the way up to treeline.
 
Where to find one:Flickers are very fond of ants, and it is quite common to find them on the ground, probing the dirt with their long, slightly curved bill to find this delicacy.  In suburban or urban settings, flickers are likely to be found during the winter in backyards with mature trees. 
Like most woodpeckers, Northern Flickers drum on objects as a form of communication and territory defense.  The object is to make as loud a noise as possible, so metal poles and pipes are sometimes preferred targets for this drumming. 

How to attract one to your yard:  Northern Flickers don't habitually visit bird feeders, but you can find them in backyards and at bird baths. If your backyard has a mixture of trees and open ground, or if it's near woods, you may find Northern Flickers simply by walking around the wooded edges.  Consider putting up a nest box to attract a breeding pair. Make sure you put it up well before breeding season. Attach a guard to keep predators from raiding eggs and young.
Interesting fact:  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 main food, and the flicker digs in the dirt to find them. It uses its long barbed tongue to lap up the ants.
 
For more information on Northern Flickers, visit one of the three Moana Nursery store locations:  1100 W. Moana Ln. & 11301 S. Virginia St., Reno and 7644 Pyramid Hwy., Sparks. 
 
Carmel Ruiz-Hilton is Manager of Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shops at Moana Nursery in Reno/Sparks

Go to the WBU site for more Bird of the Month newsletters & articles. 
Buy $40 or more in bird seed* during November
and get entered for a chance to win!!


Grand Prize includes: 
1 Basic Hardware Setup
1 Filled Finch Sock
1 Seed Cylinder and Feeder



Need not be present to win. No limit on number of entries.  Winner to be drawn from entries on Dec 1, 2016

* Bird Seed includes: Any 20# bags, 5# bags, or Seed Cylinders purchased during November 2016

Great gift items for the holidays


You Do It Suet
 Kits
Like to cook?  Enjoy feeding the birds? Why not combine both!

These kits allow you to recycle the fat from cooking and turn it into homemade suet cakes, perfect for winter bird feeding!  Great gift for kids and family alike.





Francis Metal Works Bird Sculptures

Inspired by the world's greatest water bird sanctuaries, these majestic sculptures, handcrafted from iron and Minnesota fieldstone, offer timeless reflection of nature's finest works, adding a touch of serenity to any environment. 

 


Enzo Generali's Locally Handcrafted Bird Houses

Beautifully detailed hand-crafted bird houses make a one of a kind gift for any nature lover.  Perfect as a house warming gift or just a signature piece to warm up any environment.  Fully functional houses that can be used both inside as well as out.

Come check out our always changing inventory.  No two pieces are alike!
Fun Facts About Northern Flickers

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 main 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.

The Northern Flicker is one of the few North American woodpeckers that is strongly migratory. Flickers in the northern parts of their range move south for the winter, although a few individuals often stay rather far north.

Northern Flickers generally nest in holes in trees like other woodpeckers. Occasionally, they've been found nesting in old, earthen burrows vacated by Belted Kingfishers or Bank Swallows.

Like most woodpeckers, Northern Flickers drum on objects as a form of communication and territory defense. In such cases, the object is to make as loud a noise as possible, and that's why woodpeckers sometimes drum on metal objects. One Northern Flicker in Wyoming could be heard drumming on an abandoned tractor from a half-mile away.

The oldest known yellow-shafted form of the Northern Flicker was a male and was at least 9 years, 2 months old when he was found in Florida. The oldest red-shafted form of Northern Flicker lived to be at least 8 years, 9 months old.

Nature's Holiday Symbols, Folklore and Fun Facts - Birds as Holiday Symbols

Birds are considered a universal symbol of happiness and joy by many cultures. 
Birds are often represented as messengers of love or harbingers of good things to come.
Eurasian Robins had been called redbreasts for hundreds of years before British postmen started wearing red coats in the mid-1800s and earned the same nickname. Christmas card depictions of robins delivering letters cemented the association and a Christmas bird was born.
The people of Scandinavia traditionally feed the birds on Christmas Day to ensure good luck throughout the coming year. Spread bird seed on your doorstep Christmas morning for New Year's good luck!
An old Norwegian custom was to gather the finest wheat each autumn and save it until Christmas. This wheat would then be hung from tree branches, making perches for the birds. Just before sunset on Christmas Eve they would check on the wheat in the yard. If a lot of sparrows are seen dining, it is suppose to indicate a good year for growing crops.
Upcoming Events
 
Lahontan Audubon Society

Tuesday, November 1
6:30pm
 LAS Board meeting
Saturday, November 19
8:00am
 Field Trip - Sierra Valley Expedition
Saturday, December 17
7:00am
 Christmas Bird Count - Elko
8:00am
 Christmas Bird Count - South Lake Tahoe
Sunday, December 18
7:00am
 Christmas Bird Count - Carson City
Animal Ark

November 25 & 26 @ 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Animal Ark
1265 Deerlodge Road 
Reno, NV 89508 
If you are not wild about hitting the malls for the annual holiday shopping frenzy after Thanksgiving, why not drive out to Animal Ark? Have family in town? You can enjoy our animals when they are active in late fall's cooler temperatures. Event prices: Adults $12; Seniors $11; Children $10; children 2 and under are free. 

Nature Happenings
* Nov. 4: Daylight Savings Time ends - "fall back"

* Nov. 10: Project Feeder Watch starts and extends until April.

* Nov. 13: New Moon, Nov. 28: Full Moon

* Nov. 17-18: Leonid meteor shower

* The onset of winter snow and cold in the higher elevations can often bring "irruptions" of mountain species into the valley and plains.

* The Western Scrub-Jays will squawk their resentment of the Stellers, as they all search for high-energy nuts and oil seeds.

* Pine Siskins may move in large numbers to lower regions, and will socially join flocks of American Goldfinches to visit finch feeders.

* Juncos and White-crowned Sparrows become common at feeders.

* Waterfowl migration peaks this month.

* Mule Deer bucks go into rut.

* Open water is important if there's an early freeze. Put out heated bird baths for a winter water source.
Feed Our Local Birds!
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Moana Nursery | 1100 W. Moana Lane | 11301 S. Virginia St. | 7655 Pyramid Hwy. | Reno/Sparks | NV | 89509