The last few days it’s been pretty miserable weather-wise. With it so cold and wet, the male Northern Flicker has spent a lot of time just huddled down in the nestbox sleeping. While this is undeniably cute, I’ve been looking forward to little flicker babies for so long, I was starting to sound like a grandmother. My husband can attest to this as I spoke to the screen saying: “It’s a nesting box not a roosting box. Start laying eggs!” Well, maybe they listened. This morning when I checked in on the box I was astonished to see a tiny, perfect egg on the floor of the box.
Later, when I checked again, I saw a second egg nestled in the wood chips next to the first. Because flickers, like most other birds, lay one egg a day, usually in the morning, this means that the first egg was laid yesterday. If all goes well, there could be a third egg in the box by this time tomorrow afternoon.
Although it’s hard to tell colors with any great clarity in the darkened nest box, the eggs appear a little pink. According to Birds of North America online, this is because the shell is thin and the color of the yolk shines through. In a few days, the eggs will take on their usual glossy white color.
Northern Flickers are indeterminate layers so if something happens to the eggs, they’ll keep laying. Normally, though, they’ll lay an average of 6 to 8 eggs, which they’ll incubate for 11 to 12 days. Both male and female flickers incubate, with the male doing the majority of the work, including brooding the eggs at night.
I’m excited to see how many eggs this pair will lay and I’ll be counting down the days to hatching!