Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sonic luminosity: the red-shafted flicker's mating drill.

On the way to the Seattle airport, I got an email from Katy Sewall at KUOW-FM: a recording I sent to the station will be aired on Sound of the Day, 9:55 AM PDT, Thursday, March 15.

Dang! I love a democracy...

It's the sound of one of our neighborhood's red-shafted flickers – a big woodpecker with bright red markings on the sides of his heads and a distinctive white butt. His under-wing feathers are coral red, tipped with brown and white.

At this time of year, the males' mating ritual is a familiar sound, but mysterious till identified – short bursts of rat-a-tat-tatting that sounds like a miniature roto-hammer, emanating from the highest point around...  roof flashing, phone poles, or metal chimneys, interspersed with his rapid high-pitched call.

If he happens to be perched on the roof over your bedroom, you'll root for him to find a mate already. He starts at dawn, and he's loud.

Use your smartphone to record a Sound of the Day and mail it to weekday@kuow.org.

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