» The Northern Flicker Dispatches from the Potomac

Words and Images from Ed Felker

The Northern Flicker

flicker 1

We see Northern Flickers (Colaptes auratus) here fairly often, but I don’t think it’s common to see them come to feeders. This handsome fellow, however, has regularly graced us with his presence since this winter turned excessively unpleasant a few weeks ago. Red Shafted Flickers (Colaptes auratus cafer) are found in the Western United States. Here in the east, our Flickers are Yellow Shafted (Colaptes auratus auratus). I caught this one flying away and you can clearly see the yellow shaft of his feathers. If you want to learn more about these beautiful members of the woodpecker family, check out The Cornell Lab of Ornithology page about them here.

flicker 2

6 Responses

  1. I see them in the fall while deer hunting. I never was close enough to see those yellow shafts. Thanks!

    March 1, 2015 at 10:20 am

  2. Anne Dubrow

    Beautiful pictures! Thanks!

    March 1, 2015 at 11:56 am

  3. Sally

    what a great picture. I’ve never seen the yellow shafts so clearly!

    March 1, 2015 at 3:10 pm

  4. I don’know what’s happening, but I have had three flickers at my feeders daily for at least three weeks. In my experience this unusual. Any theories? Eric Williams

    March 5, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    • Dispatches from the Potomac

      I’m not an expert, but I did read that they are migratory. Perhaps they were fooled by a mild winter and came north too early, then got hit hard by the brutal temps and precipitation we’ve been getting? Just a thought, but I’m glad they’re finding feeders! Our visitor only seems to eat the suet, how about yours?

      March 5, 2015 at 6:05 pm

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