The Flicker Nestling Rescue
|Last few photos of Mrs. Flicker, landing and feeding...|
A small detail that comes only from a sort of intimate study of a Northern Flicker, like when they aren't alive anymore. I felt like I was let in on a kind of secret. The spotted chest or Mrs. Flicker isn't polka dots at all. Blowing across the grass near where I found her body were tiny cream coloured feathers, each one with a little black heart where I had expected to see a polka dot. I was glad to know it and sadder for knowing it at the same time. Somehow it made me even more determined to save these little nestlings from the unrelenting city.
|Landing with a gullet full of food... second last time.|
And to the advice of those who don't think that people should interfere with nature that quickly or drastically, downtown Vancouver isn't nature. A city park, isn't nature - it's landscaping. Nature is where people don't come first, or second or even third. There are ways we can help nature succeed to include us so we can evolve with it, but it means Everyone putting effort towards controlling corporations and governments to force them into behaving the way we expect them to, and by NOT PUTTING PROFIT FIRST ANYMORE. If you are confused, or not convinced, go see a Michael Moore documentary, or watch The Corporation, check out the David Suzuki Foundation, talk to Leonardo Dicaprio or Ed Begley Jr. if you don't feel like figuring it out for yourself.
And folks, you can't expect a bunch of famous people to sing a song or hold a benefit and fix things. Each person has to make a little effort. Okay, no more lecture. I am just saying... wake UP, look around. Slow DOWN notice things. Pay attention to your surroundings... do SOMETHING!
Now, back to the Flickers...
We went to the Night Owl Bird Hospital and collected 6 baby Northern Flickers to deliver to GWRC. 2 of the nestlings did not survive the night. It seems that Mrs. Flicker was already having a hard time keeping up with all the babies as it was. 4 were really healthy, 2 noticeably smaller ones would require a little more attention but were doing really well, but the two that perished were an indication that she was just barely keeping up. The doctor mentioned she was surprised she even had enough food to feed all these little ones. Eliza mentioned our suet paddles and Dr. MacDonald thought that could have been what was keeping everyone alive.
|6 nestlings packed up and ready for travel...|
|This is the Northern Flicker's fresh nest at GWRC.|
Because the babies are eager to eat and open up for feedings, they won't require too much handling and won't become too trusting of humans. This makes their chances of survival so much higher. Being wary of people makes them nest further from poisons, urban encroachment, cats and of course, traffic.
We got the grand tour of the Rehab Centre. It's just a wonderful place operating out of the goodness of these people's hearts. Please donate generously through their website if you can contribute to the caring of some really wonderful creatures, including the Flickers!
|off the front of the ferry to GRWC|
|Ferry to Sunshine Coast with Flickers.|
|looking out the side of the ferry|
|6 fed nestlings, ready to nap...|
I talk to GWRC every day. Progress is the only thing to report! the runt is the boldest, demanding food first, and last - most are perching on the lip of the cage and waiting to be fed, the other 2 are on a cloth still a little small to perch on their own. But no one needs to have their beak pried apart & held open for feeding! They are all eager eaters and that makes them even more likely to survive to adulthood! We are going to visit them tomorrow.
|This could be a Flicker home...|
|... and look how remote!|
|Paradise for any woodpecker, right there in Gibson's on the Sunshine Coast.|