The flicker gets its name from its ‘flicka-flicka-flicka’ call. In spring, it drums on roof flashing, hard wood or any other surface that resonates loudly. Northern Flickers are woodpeckers identified by their orange under wing and tail. They are widespread year-round denizens of the city where they inhabit gardens, suburban streets and forests. Flickers eat ants that they hunt along the ground and insect larvae found in snags. Their nest is built in holes in trees that they excavate using their bills.
From a treetop the ‘cheer-up cheerily cheer-up’ song of the American Robin rings out every spring morning in gardens and parks in Vancouver. The red breast of singing makes the American robin one of the most conspicuous birds in the city. Robins build nests of grass and mud in shrubs and trees. Their food is mostly insects, earthworms and fruit.
The Spotted Towhee is a widespread and year-round resident in Vancouver. Towhees spend most of their time on the ground and in shrubs searching for insect prey and seeds. They are one of the most frequent visitors to bird feeders. Nests are concealed in shrubs low to the ground and difficult to find.
Dark-eyed Juncos are present year round in Vancouver but are most abundant in fall and winter. Juncos are sparrow-sized birds with conspicuous white outer tail feathers that are visible when the birds fly. The diet is mostly seeds that they eat on the ground.
Male’s are dark blue-gray on the back and rich burnt-orange below with a sooty-black breastband and orange line over the eye. The wings are blackish with two orange bars and orange edging to the flight feathers. Females have the same patterns, but are paler gray-brown than males.
Varied Thrushes breed in dark understories of humid evergreen and mixed forests along the Pacific Coast. In the winter, many move into dense parks, gardens, and backyards. Varied Thrushes are rare but regular winter visitors to the Upper Midwest and Northeast.
Song sparrows live up to their name with a loud regular song in spring and summer. Shrubs and forest edges are its haunt and it readily visits bird feeders. Nests are small compact grass lined cups hidden from sight in shrubs. Song sparrows are common to gardens and parks.
The harsh ‘jay jay jay’ call of the Steller’s Jay is heard year-round in Vancouver especially in autumn and winter when jays are most numerous. The blue back, wings and sides and black head with a crest is unmistakeable. Jays build twig nests hidden away in shrubs and trees. They eat insects and nuts, take other birds eggs, and readily come to feeders supplied with peanuts or sunflower seeds.
Six types of these birds all showed up yesterday (the Jay was last week), I think they were telling us a storm was on it’s way…Big weather warning tonight, 135 mm (5.5 inches) of rain coming, and it’s already started! Pumps already going in the basement!