Eucalyptus Tree Hosts a Flicker Family

Note: All these photographs are by wild-life photographer Janet Kessler.

In San Francisco’s Presidio, there’s an old, rather dilapidated eucalyptus tree. The main trunk is broken off  and ragged shafts stick in the air. Though it’s still alive, you might say that it’s ‘in decline.’

Just another eucalyptus tree 'in decline' - Janet Kessler

But this eucalyptus tree holds new life. A red-shafted flicker – a kind of woodpecker – has excavated a nest-hole.

The eucalyptus-tree nest hole of the red-shafted flicker - San Francisco. Janet Kessler

In it, there are three or four chicks.

Red-shafted flicker family in eucalyptus tree nest - San Francisco - Janet Kessler

Ever wondered how woodpeckers get insects out of their holes? Look at this tongue!

red-shafted flicker sticks out its tongue - Janet Kessler

They’re growing big, and soon they’ll move along.

Red-shafted flicker parent and chick on a eucalyptus tree - San Francisco - Janet Kessler

Then this hollow in the tree may host another family – bluebirds, maybe, or owls or swallows or chickadees or even bees.  It’s a feature of the ecosystem – and a strong argument for leaving in place trees that aren’t actually hazardous, even if they are apparently in decline or even dead. Even if they’re non-native eucalyptus, sheltering native flickers.

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6 Responses to Eucalyptus Tree Hosts a Flicker Family

  1. alicia snow says:

    What an extraordinarily beautiful set of photographs! Wonderful to see the babies peeking out from behind the dead wood. My compliments to Janet Kessler.

  2. Pingback: Sutro Forest June 2013: Trails and Flammability | Save Mount Sutro Forest

  3. Jane Shepard says:

    Soooo dear!! Thank you so much for posting all of Janet’s fabulous photos – they make my heart smile, while RPD makes my blood boil. ~ jane


  4. Richard Drechsler says:

    Fantastic photos !!

    Thanks for sending them to the SFBIRDS yahoo group. If you follow this birding blog you will learn about the large number of species of SF birds, reported regularly by birders, who use Eucalyptus not only to breed, but to seek food, shelter or safety throughout the year.

    Please keep documenting these important observations in order to make the lives of birds in this city easier and safer.

    [Webmaster: We understand that Janet Kessler sent SFBirds Yahoo group the link, but they have not posted it. We don’t know if they intend to do so.]

  5. dolaneargle says:

    It seems such a normal thing to have a lot of trees around us. Then some ill-conceived bunch comes along and spits out fire about the existence of certain makes of trees. Where does this bunch of people come from?

    -Dolan Eargle Director, Trees Company, planter and conserver of trees.
    Herb Caen remarked: “Trees company, forest’s a crowd.”

  6. Pingback: Woodpecker Diversity in San Francisco | San Francisco Forest Alliance

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