Nine reasons to vote northern flicker for Vancouver city bird

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      Vancouver residents will cast their ballots for mayor, council, park board, and school board on November 15. But, for bird lovers, the real election is going on right now.

      Until May 10, you can vote for Vancouver's city bird of 2015. There are six worthy contenders, including the Anna’s hummingbird, black-capped chickadee, Pacific wren, pileated woodpecker, and varied thrush.

      One candidate, however, soars above the rest of the flock. It's the northern flicker (Colaptes auratus), whose social media manager is tweeting away at @northernflick.

      That's why I'm personally endorsing the northern flicker for #VanCityBird. (My meaningless endorsement does not represent the views of the Georgia Straight, whose editorial staff is far from consensus on the top bird for the job.)

      Have you voted for the northern flicker yet?
      Stephen Hui

      Here's nine reasons why it's worth your while to #VoteFlicker.

      1. Forget empty condos.

      Flickers live in Vancouver all year long.

      2. Parks will be protected

      After all, parks and gardens are among their favourite habitats.

      3. Live music in public spaces

      These woodpeckers are noted for their drumming.

      4. More affordable housing

      Flickers build rent-free homes in trees and telephone poles.

      5. No need for densification

      Their population is stable in Canada.

      6. Natural pest control

      They eat ants, beetles, and other local insects.

      7. No impact on class sizes

      Juveniles are home-schooled in flight and other areas of study.

      8. Bike lanes won't be a priority

      They already have plenty of flight paths.

      9. Not above interacting with the public

      They spend a lot of time on the ground and like to visit backyards.

      Which species are you backing for Vancouver's city bird of 2015, and why? Tell us in the comments!




      Apr 21, 2014 at 12:39pm

      A beautiful bird but the drumming part is torture especially when our neighborhood flicker likes to do its thing on the metal chimney cap at 6 am. The cats have finally gotten used to it and no longer jump to the ceiling fan.

      Martin Dunphy

      Apr 21, 2014 at 1:15pm

      I'm a flicker fan. Winged anteaters. They mate for life and both raise the kids. I think the ones in my neighbourhood and backyard stay year-round because of the oak trees that dump prodigious amounts of acorns, one of their winter foods.
      Another neat thing is that they have learned to probe in the cracks between sidewalk squares, because that is where so many ant nests have entrances and exits.
      (Don't vote for the Anna's hummingbird; it's just a visitor that decided to stay a few decades ago.)


      Apr 21, 2014 at 2:20pm

      I don't recognize any of these avian interlopers... where's the crow, seagull and pigeon on this list?

      Jan 20, 2015 at 10:49am

      go flicker go!