Saturday, September 29, 2012

Northern Flicker

On any walk near a wooded area, you are likely to startle a Northern Flicker from the ground.  You’ll recognize it flying away by its white rump and colored wing patches. 

The Northern Flicker is a large woodpecker that prefers foraging on the ground for ants and grubs, unlike most other woodpeckers that peck at decaying trees for insects.   

The Northern Flicker is a short distance migrant.  This small group could have been heading south for the winter as they rested in Lake Park, Milwaukee, but they could have been year-round residents, too. 

These are the yellow-shafted variant of Northern Flickers. 

There is a red-shafted variant also in the western United States.  I found this one at the Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson, Arizona last January.

You’ll most likely notice the Northern Flicker after he noticed you first and flew away, but watch where he lands to see if you can get a better look at this beautiful bird.