What we humans hear as a machine gun sound and get terrified might be a Northern Flicker looking for a mating partner.
Yes, Flickers totally could be a justification for the machine gun sound that horrifies us all unexpectedly, and it is the very reason these woodpeckers are also called “Machine Gun Peckers.” Flickers are not seen flying as frequently as sparrows or crows, and it is the reason children get excited when they see one.
Coming to the Northern Flickers, these are native to North America, Central America, Cayman Islands, and Cuba. One of the special physical attributes of this bird is its long beak that is enough hard to poke holes in the ground or in a tree. It comes in varying sizes ranging from 7 inches to 15 inches and has a brown barred back with black spots underneath.
This amazing bird is mostly seen in early spring and summer and makes drumming sounds with its beak on metallic surfaces. While it is a sign of it looking for a partner, it also does this to establish a territory. While the bird does the continuous poking with its beak as sourced from its instincts, humans confuse the sound on the metal surface with a round being fired from a machine gun.
Human males know what a female admires, so is with a male northern flicker, it knows that the louder the drumming sound from its beak, the more female northern flickers would be attracted towards it. For this, it makes sure to pick a surface with strong resonance, and mostly that is someone’s metallic roof. Annoyed by the continuous noise (for a short while), humans have given this bird the nickname “machine gun woodpecker.”
In a small amount of time, it can strike a metal surface with its beak about 25 times that as a result imitates the sound of a machine gun. Its beak is not as hard to poke holes into a metallic surface, however, it is enough to do so on a wooden surface when it does the same. This action of the woodpecker accounts for the damage to wooden houses in many areas including damage to stucco, plywood, Masonite, cedar, rough pine, and redwood siding.
The bird that looks fascinating to humans from a distance is hated upon when it does damage to a home. And to cater to that, humans have developed a combination of deterrents to keep them from causing costly damages.
If you haven’t ever experienced the sound live, you must be anxious to know how it feels to the ear. Watch the following video to find out the crazily perfect imitation of machine gun sound by the northern flicker.