Saturday, May 19, 2007

My Friend Flicker

Of all the Woodpeckers that come to my feeders, I enjoy seeing the Northern Flicker the most(I don't get the Pileated and only once had a sapsucker) .They do not visit my feeders as often as other Woodpeckers. When they do come, they eat shelled sunflowers seeds, suet, and shelled peanuts.

The Northern Flicker seems to be the only Woodpecker in this area that prefers to eat from the ground. Flickers eat a variety of insects -especially ants. During winter months, their diet tends to be more fruit. When Northern Flickers comes to a feeder, you are able to see details on the bird that you may not otherwise see. This is the Yellow-shafted variety. If you look at the under side of the tail, you can see the yellow.

During the breeding season, Northern Flickers can be found as far north as Canada and as far south as Central America. The ones in the Northern range migrate towards the south and west in the winter.

  • Numbers have shown that the number of (Yellow-shafted) Northern Flickers is declining. This might be due to an increase in lawn chemicals and decrease in preferred habitat.
  • Call a long series of loud "wik-wik-wik" notes. Also a softer "wik-a-wik-a-wik-a," and a strong single-note "peah."

What's your favorite woodpecker? Do you see Northern Flickers in your area?

13 comments:

Body Soul Spirit said...

I saw my first Northern Flicker here in Ontario last week and have the picture on my Flickr site...can't see if it has a yellow tail. I had seen Downy and Hairy woodpeckers only before this, but never at my suet feeder. The Downies put lots of holes in our wood siding before we had it replaced.
Ruth

Lynne said...

Beautiful flicker pix!! They are not uncommon here in MN but I've only ever seen them on the ground. It's hard for me to pick a favorite, but I do think the red-headed woodpecker is quite pretty. I saw quite a few while on vacation at Itasca State Park in northern MN a few years ago. I've heard that park is the only spot here to find them.

RuthieJ said...

Those are nice flickers pictures, Larry. I have them in my yard, but now that you mention it, I sure don't see as many as I used to. I saw a red-shafted flicker in California last year. Looks and sounds just like ours, but where there's yellow on the feathers of ours, the red-shafted has red. It's very striking and I knew what it was right away when seen flying. (Also saw the acorn woodpecker out there--another interesting looking woodpecker.)
As far as a favorite woodpecker goes, I like them all, but would have to pick the pileated.

Larry said...

Ruth-Interesting-you must be near the northern limits of their range.

Lynne-thanks-and-Red-headed Woodpecker is rare around here-I saw one once.

Ruthie J-thanks-and-Must have been cool to realize you were seeing he red-shafted version.

Jayne said...

I've only seen them on the ground too, so seeing this one on your feeder is a treat indeed! I used to see them where I lived years ago, but have not seen one here yet. Beautiful birds! I have many Downys and Red-bellied and the occasional Pileated high up in the pines. Haven't seen a Sapsucker here yet either, but had one visit my Bradford pears where we lived before moving here.

Larry said...

Jayne-they are pretty birds.-Wish the sun had been out though-
Bradford pears-I'm familiar with Bartlett-not sure if I've ever had a Bradford Pear.

Cathy said...

Gorgeous pictures of a gorgeous fella! (It's a male, right?)

You know, Larry - I hadn't heard about the decline, but as I think about it - I'm seeing far fewer flickers than I use to see. Depressing!

Ron Southern said...

I love flickers! And woodpeckers in general. Saw a red-headed wp a few times recently in the back yard. Haven't seen a flicker in a couple of years, but that's probably my fault. I've had to lay off birding a couple of years while my eyesight was bad. It's better now. I'm in Texas.

Corey said...

My favorite WP is the Downy, because they are so reliable (sometimes you just need to see a woodpecker).
And there are plenty of flickers over here in Albany, but it makes sense that they are declining, with farms becoming forests or developments and every other yard sporting those pesticide signs.

mon@rch said...

Watching Flickers are so much fun! Great Photos!

The Birdfreak Team said...

My favorite woodpecker is the Pileated, but haven't had one in our city yard. However, we've had Red-headed Woodpeckers and they are pretty cool. We used to have Flickers more often but I think they were chased away by the Red-bellied and Red-headed.

Great pictures showing off that cool golden color!

Patrice said...

Yes! We have these; I often see them in the tall fir trees surrounding our house or down on the lawn. I look out my home office window and they are going up and down the tree trunks like woodpeckers. It was only recently that I picked up binoculars and the birding guide to identify them. You and Cathy are turning me into a birder...

John L. Trapp said...

It's always amusing to see flickers on the ground looking very unwoodpecker-like. My favorite woodpecker is the Pileated as it always brings a thrill, no matter how often I see them.