Skip to Content

Mama-Bird Dies Trying To Save Her Chicks From a Bull Snake

Share this post on:

A mama-bird dies trying to save her chicks, reminding us of the harsh reality of nature.

mama-bird dies trying to save chicks

The harshness of nature is vividly portrayed in a video capturing an everyday occurrence—a bird’s nest getting raided by a snake. Before delving into the video, let’s get acquainted with the two species involved: the Northern Flicker and the Bullsnake.

The Northern Flicker, a captivating woodpecker native to North America, showcases its remarkable appearance and nesting behavior. On the other hand, the Bullsnake, a non-venomous serpent found across North America, displays its hunting tactics and dietary preferences.

In the video, a dramatic encounter unfolds as the vigilant mama-bird fiercely defends her nest against the menacing bull snake – but dies trying to save her chicks. The predator’s instinct prevails, resulting in a ruthless portrayal of the circle of life.

Let’s explore the reasons behind chick fatality and the intricate dynamics of predator-prey interactions in nature!

Key Points

  • The video depicts a Northern Flicker defending its nest against a bull snake but ultimately succumbing to the snake’s constricting grip.
  • Northern Flickers are woodpeckers native to North America, known for their captivating appearance.
  • Bull snakes are non-venomous serpents found in various regions of North America.
  • Bull snakes use constricting techniques to capture and immobilize their prey, primarily small mammals.
  • Common reasons for chick fatality include predation, starvation, nest failure, weather-related factors, and lack of parental care.

Jump to any section below:

Getting to Know the Northern Flicker

norther flicker mama bird dies trying to save her chciks

The Northern Flicker, also known as Colaptes auratus, is a captivating woodpecker species native to North America. It boasts a brownish upper body with black bars and spots, accompanied by a pale yellow or buff underbelly. Its wings, in flight, reveal a vibrant combination of black, white, and red. This remarkable bird is present across a wide range, from southern Alaska to Central America.

Nesting and Reproductive Behavior

These woodpeckers engage in elaborate courtship displays. Males perform aerial acrobatics, flying in undulating patterns while calling and drumming loudly on objects like metal surfaces to attract mates and establish territories. They may also engage in “anting,” a behavior where they rub ants on their feathers, possibly to deter parasites.

Northern Flickers often choose tree cavities for their homes. While some may excavate their own nesting cavities in dead or decaying trees, others occupy existing cavities left behind by other birds. These woodpeckers may even take advantage of human-made structures, such as utility poles or buildings with suitable cavities. They line their nests with wood chips and other soft materials.

Learn more about another bird; the Peregrine Falcon that can dive at 183 mph.

Getting to Know the Bullsnake

bull snake in grass

The bull snake is a non-venomous serpent that inhabits various regions of North America. It is a large reptile with an average length of 4 to 6 feet, although some individuals can exceed 8 feet. It has a stout body and a head that is slightly wider than its neck. Although its coloration can vary, it often displays a combination of brown, tan, and black patterns that resemble the appearance of rattlesnakes.

Bull snakes can be found across the central and western parts of North America, including prairies, grasslands, deserts, and open woodlands.

Hunting Tactics and Diet

As opportunistic predators, their diet primarily consists of small mammals, such as mice, rats, gophers, and ground squirrels. They also feed on birds, eggs, and occasionally lizards.

Bull snakes are known for their exceptional ability to constrict their prey. Once they locate their target, they use stealth and patience, relying on their keen eyesight and sense of smell. When close enough, they strike swiftly, seizing their prey with their powerful jaws. Subsequently, the snake coils its muscular body around the captured prey, exerting pressure to suffocate and immobilize it.

Meet the Horned Viper and learn about its venomous bite.

The Video

In the video, a menacing bull snake slithers up a tree and inside a Northern Flicker’s nest. Suddenly, the vigilant mama-bird catches sight of this and swoops down. She does all in her power to stop the snake from entering the nest. Eventually, she manages to pull the snake out.

However, this is when the situation takes a dangerous turn. The mama-bird falls to the ground with the snake. The bull snake, unscathed from the fall, quickly coils itself around the flicker, starting to constrict. The bird’s struggle slowly subsides under the tightening grip of the snake, showing the ruthless circle of life in the wild.

The Harshness of Nature

mama bird killed by bull snake

Nature can be unforgiving and the intricate web of food chains highlights its harsh realities. The fate of the Northern Flicker serves as a stark reminder of this truth.

As the courageous Northern Flicker fiercely defends her nest, the bull snake’s predatory instinct ultimately prevails. The snake manages to overpower the mama-bird, which sadly means her chicks most probably will die anyways as they’re left without parental care.

While the outcome may seem heartbreaking, it underscores the necessity of these predator-prey interactions. The bull snake, like any other predator, relies on a regular food source to survive and fulfill its role within the ecosystem. Without successful hunts, the snake would face starvation, leading to a ripple effect throughout the food chain.

Most Common Reasons For Fatality in Chicks

baby bird

The above video where a mama-bird dies trying to save her chicks most definitely reminded us of the tough reality of nature. Sadly, the reality is that most baby birds don’t make it into adulthood.

Some studies estimate that anywhere from 25% to 70% of baby birds may not survive to reach adulthood. However, it’s important to remember that these figures are generalizations and can vary greatly between species, populations and habitats.

Here’s some of the most common reasons for fatality in chicks:

  • Predation: Young birds are often vulnerable to predation by larger birds, mammals, and reptiles.
  • Starvation: Inadequate food availability or competition for limited food resources can lead to starvation in young birds.
  • Nest failure: Problems with the nest structure, abandonment by parents, or nest destruction can result in the death of young birds.
  • Weather-related factors: Harsh weather conditions such as extreme temperatures, storms, or prolonged rain can lead to mortality in young birds.
  • Lack of parental care: In some cases, parental abandonment or insufficient care can result in the death of young birds.

Mama-Bird Dies Trying to Save Her Chicks: Wrapping Up

bull snake

As we reflect on the heartbreaking loss in the video, let us not forget the importance of these interactions for the overall health and functioning of our planet. It is through these interconnected relationships that balance is maintained, allowing diverse species to thrive and ecosystems to flourish.

The heartbreaking fate of the courageous mama-bird in her valiant attempt to protect her chicks weighs heavily on our hearts. What makes this tragedy even more poignant is that without their mama’s care, the young Northern Flickers will likely die anyways.

Yet, as difficult as it is to witness, this encounter perfectly illustrates the intricate food chains that govern nature. Predators and prey coexist in a delicate balance, each playing a vital role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. While it may be tempting to turn away from the harshness of these predator-prey relationships, we must remember their crucial significance.

Thank you for reading this article about the mama-bird that dies trying to save her chicks! Nature is full of valuable lessons we can learn from, take a look at our similar posts:

Latest posts by Josie Messeter (see all)

Share this post on: