It's been a long time since I've seen a flicker around here--for awhile they were very common, but for months, my yard has seen nary a flicker of a flicker.
Perhaps to make up the difference, the brown creeper has become a common visitor, creeping up the tree to pull a few bits from the suet feeder. Having spotted him once, it's like a Bev Doolittle painting--once the trees have resolved into Indians, you start seein' em everywhere. (One of these days, I will have the patience and the madness to do a painting like that--Find The Hidden Wombats! or something--but not today.)
It's been an active week with the birdfeeders. I put up the finch feeder, with some uber-Finch Blend and about two hours later, the squirrels knocked it down. I put it back up and tied it down with enough wire to make it earthquake proof. The squirrels decided they liked the Finch Blend, and learned, within a day, how to twist the openings on the feeder (the openings turn between the small finch-sized holes and large troughs for bigger seeds) to "trough" and then pour the seed directly down their gullets. Cursing, I abandoned the Finch Blend for straight nyger seed. The squirrels are now ignoring it.
So are the finches.
I haven't actually SEEN a finch in the yard for a week, so maybe I'm just unlucky. Generally when I put up the finch sock, it's so covered in wings it looks like a cheesecloth cherubim within a day. Perhaps they have simply gone to visit relatives at the moment. I'll leave it up for a few more weeks.
Outraged by Finch Blend withdrawal, the squirrels yanked down my suet feeder. I found it, went to reattach it, and discovered to my astonishment that every single link in the chain used to attach it to the nail had been pulled apart. The chain was now a loose series of hooks associating out of habit. I am not sure if this was the result of a year of being hauled on by random animals, or if a particularly OCD squirrel had sat down with the now empty feeder and systematically unmade the chain. I tied it up with more wire and slotted in a fresh suet cake.
The next day, the feeder was not just pulled down, it was gone. It had vanished into the wilds of the suburbs, never to be seen again by mortal man.
Oh, well. Suet cake feeders are four bucks, and they last for a good year. Cheap at twice the price. I got a replacement and wired it up with chain and more wire and more wire and chain. James shook his head. He knows I'm just forcing the squirrels to evolve into a species capable of using blowtorches.
My wildlife has me well trained.