an everyday photo, every day | photography • art • poetry

Northern Flicker

northern flicker

Northern Flicker

Today was flight training day for a juvenile Northern Flicker as his parents, he father seen here, flew from tree to tree and tried to get him to come to them. You can’t miss flickers when they are around, they are as loud as blue jays and when they really rev up their ki ki ki ki call it sounds sounds as if they are loudly giggling.

But the most notable thing about them is every detail of their appearance—they are large woodpeckers, 10 to 12 inches long, and have tan and black striped wings and tan and black polka-dotted chest with a prominent black crescent like a necklace, yellow or red underside their tail and wings, and males have a red crescent on the back of their neck. They frequently feed on the ground and have long beaks that reach for insects in tree bark and in the soil. I am glad to see them because they eat snails and slugs and other garden pests. I’ve been hoping something would come along to help me control those slimy things, and  guess the flicker family thinks they’ve found heaven.

Here is a photo of him calling his progeny…

northern flicker

Northern flicker talking.

And looking to see if he’d shown up.

norther flicker

Hey kid, what part of “come here” don’t you understand?

But when I went back in the house Giuseppe, one of my cats, led me to the window by my computer and pointedly looked out. I thought there might be a hummingbird, but it was actually the juvenile flicker—a male, as you can see by the nascent red crescent on the back of his neck—was sitting quietly in the grapevine garland around the porch. I went outside to take a closer look and see if he was possibly entangled; birds land on this frequently but with his age and inexperience he might not know quite what to do. I spoke to him and reached up to pull the vines apart and he collected himself and off he went to a branch on the lilac near the ground, then hopped into the ground covers and went rustling away underneath the cover. I’m glad he was okay, I want those flickers to feel welcome.

juvenile northern flicker

The juvenile flicker

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4 responses

  1. iseebeautyallaround

    what a neat looking bird, strong series of photos, great detail

    June 23, 2013 at 9:05 am

    • Thanks, Iseebeauty (so do I, in fact!), and I most enjoy watching them while they are ignoring me, like this guy. He was spectacular!

      June 23, 2013 at 11:25 am

  2. I have a bird table in my garden which I refill every day, (suet,dried mealworms, grain, chopped peanuts and Sunflower hearts) and sometimes I sit near the window, just watching the different species flit and fly about , I have a pair of binoculars handy usually, I cannot express the sheer joy and utter happiness at seeing them, helping themselves to the water dish and feed. So looking at the photo’s and reading your words above made me smile and laugh too. Our feathered friends need all the help they can get, and it’s a pleasure to hear/see and experience them. Loved your story of the Northern Flicker. xPenx

    June 23, 2013 at 6:08 am

    • Penpusher, you are very generous, and I can imagine the variety of birds you attract with a smorgasbord like that! You should aim your camera as well. I love watching birds, and have a feeder in view of each window–it brings the house to life. Most of my bird photos here are taken through my windows, but in spring, when birds are otherwise occupied with family matters, I can get photos like this. Daddy Flicker was not at all concerned about me. Thanks for writing.

      June 23, 2013 at 11:24 am

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