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Of Owls and Woodpeckers

December 16, 2013

I have a story of owls and woodpeckers – of David and Goliath.

I have enjoyed watching the Northern Flickers at my feeder this winter. Recently, I saw a flicker give a loud squawk as a Pygmy Owl flew directly at the woodpecker. The owl briefly took up the same perch, eying me before flying off. I saw the owl later in the day in a tall tree nearby and the flicker has since returned to the feeder. A flicker is larger than a large robin and a Pygmy Owl could be mistaken for a large and chubby Song Sparrow. I suppose hunting larger prey is one way of surviving winter, but I also wonder how often such a small owl takes down a bird almost 4X its size.

My wildlife cam captured a brief glimpse of a tiny owl hunting the night after I saw the Pygmy Owl try to capture the Northern Flicker. Was it the Pygmy Owl?

A Northern Flicker male at my bird feeder

A Northern Flicker male at my bird feeder

I have also included a short video of one of the male Northern Flickers at my feeder today. You can see the amazing length of the woodpecker’s tongue as it gleans suet from the ground.

A male Northern Flicker feeding on the ground

A male Northern Flicker feeding on the ground

A Pygmy Owl perched on a power line in winter

A Pygmy Owl perched on a power line in winter

Both the flicker and the owl flew off that day. It isn’t easy being David, but perhaps Goliath doesn’t have it any easier, especially with David around!

All photos, videos and writing copyright Joanne Siderius, 2013.

2 Comments
  1. Great photos! The owl appears to be camera shy…so cute!

    • Thank you – It was pretty intent on finding food. Maybe the owl near my feeder will pose for a photo this year –

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