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Flickers and Buffleheads

What do they have in common? A nest cavity!

After a Northern Flicker carves out a nest cavity, chances are the birds will use the cavity for just one nesting season. But the cavity may have a prolonged career as a home for small owls, bluebirds, swallows, and other birds - including the Bufflehead. Buffleheads - like the family seen here - are the only ducks small enough to use the cavities of flickers. Clear-cutting in some northern forests has reduced nesting habitat for flickers and Buffleheads alike. Both benefit when consumers choose paper products made from recycled paper.

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Full Transcript

Transcript: 
BirdNote®
Flickers and Buffleheads

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.

[Woodpecker excavating nest hole]
  
Listen to one of nature’s most skilled carpenters at work. [Woodpecker excavating nest hole] A woodpecker – a Northern Flicker – is carving out a nest cavity. Clinging halfway up an old, dead tree, the bird uses its chisel-like bill to chip out a round entrance hole three inches across. [Woodpecker excavating] The flicker then excavates a cavity a foot or more deep inside the trunk – a safe haven for raising its young.

Chances are, the flickers will use this cavity for just one nesting season. But that cavity may have a prolonged career as a home for small owls, bluebirds, swallows, and other birds – including one very special duck. [Splash of Bufflehead]

In the boreal forest of northern North America, the small black-and-white duck named the Bufflehead nests almost exclusively in old flicker cavities. [Bufflehead vocalizations] A number of other ducks also incubate their eggs in tree cavities, but Buffleheads are the only ones small enough to use the cavities of flickers. [ Northern Flicker calling]
 
Yet clear-cutting in some northern forests has reduced nesting habitat for flickers and Buffleheads alike. Both benefit when consumers choose paper products made from recycled paper. [Woodpecker excavation sounds]

Today’s show brought to you by the Lufkin Family Foundation. Learn more at our website, BirdNote.org.

###

Sounds of provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Pileated Woodpecker excavating recorded by G.A. Keller; call of Northern Flicker by 6819 R.C. Stein; boreal ambient recorded by G.F. Budney CD25 T9 and landing of Bufflehead recorded by W.W.H.Gunn.
Calls of Bufflehead recorded by Martyn Stewart of naturesound.com             
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org           May 2018          Narrator: Michael Stein

ID# SotB-NOFL-BUFF-01-2011-05-03

Primary reference: Birds of North America online.

 

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