Date: 12/26/17 8:08 am
From: Larry Morgan <lmorgan11637...>
Subject: Re: [AZNMbirds] Why are Gilded Flickers decreasing?
Tim, just to confuse the discussion a little, I am in the middle of Mesa
and GILDED FLICKERS are visiting my back yard daily. Richard is right, they
seem only interested in the peanut suet. I believe there is something in
the equation that we just don't know about them.

Larry Morgan

On Tue, Dec 26, 2017 at 8:17 AM, Richard Carlson <rccarl...> wrote:

> Peanut suet. That's all they eat
> Richard Carlson
> Tucson & Lake Tahoe
> Sent from my iPhone
> On Dec 26, 2017, at 6:46 AM, Patricia Braddy <pabraddy...> wrote:
> The first year we moved here on the east side of Tucson we had one Gilded
> Flicker come to our feeder a couple of times. That was in 2013. We have not
> seen nor heard one since then.
> The plots in this neighborhood are 4+ acres with tons of Saguaros and Gila
> Woodpeckers but no Gilded Flickers. We have an extensive feeding station
> and are just curious why we aren’t seeing/hearing Gilded Flickers. Northern
> Flickers seem to be very low here at 3,000’ but if we go up Mt. Lemmon they
> seem to be plentiful in the fall and winter months beginning around 6,000 -
> 7,000’.
> Our feeding stations consist of peanuts, oranges, grape jelly, thistle,
> premium blend seeds and mealworms. What am I missing?
> Patricia Braddy
> Saguaro Hills Estate
> East Tucson
> On Dec 25, 2017, at 2:54 PM, Tim Helentjaris <tnhelentjaris...>
> wrote:
> Or perhaps a better way to phrase the question that interests me is why
> are they not found in all of the habitat that appears perfect for them in
> every regard we understand? Got interested in this during the Tucson CBC
> where I was assigned to the Sweetwater Preserve, an area of upland Sonoran
> desert habitat just west of the wetlands. This is rich habitat,
> indistinguishable from that of much of the surrounding area including
> Tucson Mountain Park and Saguaro National Park West. I had anticipated
> being able to contribute Gilded Flickers from here but was surprised after
> one late morning foray of just over a mile, none. And then after another
> foray into a different section of the preserve after lunch, skunked again!
> Huh, I haven’t birded here in the summer, but this would appear to be
> perfect habitat for this bird, so why isn’t it here? And it’s not like
> these birds are hard to detect if they’re around, they’re not like
> Five-striped Sparrows in that regard, far from it. They’re both visually
> and aurally obvious.
> Talked to some other folks about this, Larry Norris remarked that GiFl’s
> are now much less common on the east side of the Tucson Mountains. On the
> west side, especially in the park, I detected probable breeding pairs at
> every stop on an IBA survey a few years ago along the Golden Gate unpaved
> roadway. But to my eye, this area doesn’t appear any different, in terms
> of topography and vegetation? Tory Corman commented, echoing his BBA
> chapter, that this bird is “shyer” than the Gila Woodpecker and creeping
> urbanization poses a threat to them. Along those lines, during my surveys
> in SagNPW, I did not find them close to the busy, paved roads in the park
> but usually had to walk in a ways before detecting them. While they do
> show up in some neighborhoods, I think this is much less common than out in
> undisturbed desert areas.
> So, as a follow-up today, I walked back into Sweetwater Preserve and this
> time made a wide sweeping loop survey of almost five miles, paying
> particular attention for GiFl’s and even using occasional playback,
> broadcasting their contact call. Covering a large segment of the preserve,
> my results were again disappointing, although I did finally pick up one
> probable pair of GILDED FLICKERS, quite a ways in and interestingly away
> from most of the trail network. One pair seems well below the carrying
> capacity of this habitat? The preserve is flanked by some housing along
> its fringes, but the density is very low and the surrounding habitat seems
> undisturbed. In fact, walking the trail network, you rarely even see any
> of these houses, due to the hilly aspect of the terrain. Doesn’t seem like
> it should represent a significant impact that would disturb a shy species?
> On the other hand, this area is close to much of Tucson and quite busy with
> both hikers but especially popular with mountain bikers along its dense
> network of trails. Does this represent enough of a disturbance to frighten
> away this species? Certainly can be a lot of folks using the area, evident
> even today with large groups riding together throughout the preserve. Just
> throwing this out as a possibility, that when we do some surveys this
> spring, this might be another variable, along with habitat and nearby
> urbanization to compare with species occurrence. Might be one more
> consideration in evaluating potential habitat for this species.
> Not much else of note there this morning, the usual suspects for this kind
> of habitat, but I was surprised to come upon a larger, loose “flock" of
> perhaps 18-20 BLACK-THROATED SPARROWS, a species I don’t usually think of
> as being found in flocks. Just want to comment, this is a very nice area
> that has been set aside here by the county and they have done a nice job
> with the trails and signage. Along with areas protected by Tucson, it is
> nice to see this kind of attention/preservation of nearby natural areas for
> the enjoyment of a growing population, it shows a lot of foresight.
> BTW, on another, unrelated note, I have made extensive use of an app, Bird
> Tunes, in the past for learning bird songs but also for playback during our
> IBA surveys. Was disappointed recently when it stopped working due to
> continuing upgrades in operating systems. The company just stopped
> maintaining it. But looking around, I found that they migrated its entire
> content to a newer app, Bird Songs USA & Canada 3100 birds’ songs. All of
> the same songs and a useful adjunct to many of the field guide apps, with
> its larger complement of songs and calls and many geographic variants. So,
> if you were using Bird Tunes but found it has stopped working for you, look
> up this replacement app.
> Tim Helentjaris
> Tucson, AZ
> “When you own the facts, you argue the facts. When you don't own the
> facts, you argue the law.”
> - Michael Hayden, former CIA Director
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