This gallery contains 4 photos. Northern Flickers are the second largest woodpeckers in North America, but I have had much better luck approaching the much smaller Downies than these. Flickers–both Intergrade and Red-Shafted (which occur here regularly)– like to keep a rather “discreet” 50-foot distance between themselves and the photographer. If they detect even the slightest movement on my part, they take off like a shot.
The Red-Shafted Northern Flicker male has a bright red malar (mustache).
f/8, 1/250, 150-500mm telephoto, 500mm, ISO 100
This male Red-Shafted, however, proved an exception to the rule, and decided he was best admired, not just high up in the tree … but on the ground as well … some 6.5 feet away! Photographed on April 15, 2015, in Boundary Bay Regional Park.
I hadn’t seen that thick, powerful beak up close before (makes the Flicker quite the drummer).
f/8, 1/250, 15-500mm telephoto, 500mm, ISO 125
The tongue of a Northern Flicker is as long (extending 1.5-2 inches from the tip of its bill) and remarkable as a hummingbird’s. I read somewhere that, just like a hummingbird’s, the Flicker tongue is curled up inside the cranium when not in use! Photographed on April 15, 2015, in Boundary Bay Regional Park.
The end of its sticky tongue is used to impale ants, its main food source (it loves suet, too).
f/8, 1/250, 150-500mm telephoto, 500mm, ISO 200
They sound very much like Bald Eagles, fooling me the first time I heard them. It wasn’t until I both heard and saw one calling how good their mimicry was. This is a female Red-Shafted Northern Flicker. Even more extraordinary is her ‘do … which I am still unable to explain. Was she born that way, or did her feathers get caught in some branches? Photographed on March 26, 2015, in the backyard.
she doesn’t have a bright red mustache, but check out those feathers on the back of her head!
f/6.3, 1/1600, 150-500mm telephoto, 500mm, ISO 200