Spectrogram of a Northern Flicker’s KEEK series call with the songs of American Redstart and Hermit Thrush in the center of the image (l & r, respectively)

This week, a Northern Flicker stars in a recording captured June 11, 2019, but the audio ambience of this special location — along the Alder Trail nearest to Blueberry Hill — also shines (despite the foggy weather in which it was recorded). You’ll hear four KEEK series calls of a Northern Flicker featured, but in my opinion it is these calls together with all the background sounds that make this recording sound special. Listen to the white noise of the surf, and the ringing of the bell buoy off Schoodic Island. Other species such as an American Redstart and a Hermit Thrush, can also be heard and contribute to an all around beautiful soundscape.

Northern Flicker giving KEEK series calls in a rich soundscape.

For the record, Pileated Woodpeckers have a very similar KEEK series call. A “KEEK” series, as heard in this recording, is defined by birder and author Nathan Pieplow, as “a series of high short abrupt monotone nasal notes” (p. 542, Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Eastern North America). In Pieplow’s books, the companion website, and on his blog you can learn more about bird sounds including the seven basic tone qualities — among them, those with a nasal tone quality.