Saturday, September 19, 2015

Northern Flicker (Pic flamboyant)

     Each time I go out now I see more and more evidence that Northern Flickers Colaptes auratus are preparing for migration. They are starting to be seen in small groups of five or six birds, often feeding together on the ground, but sometimes high in the trees too.

     Preening, always an obligatory chore, perhaps assumes even greater importance than usual, since feathers need to be in prime condition for the rigours of the migratory journey ahead.

     Northern Flicker is the second largest North American picid.

     This species is divided into two distinct morphs, the yellow-shafted variant found in the east and the red-shafted form in the western part of the continent.
Not surprisingly, flickers are being caught in bird banders' nets, and these adult males clearly shows their yellow-shafted characters.

     This pair of Mourning Doves Zenaida macroura was seen in the same tree as a couple of flickers.

     Here are a few of the other species recently banded in Cambridge, ON.

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Blue-grey Gnatcatcher

Grey Catbird looking at its image on Erin's tee shirt

Juvenile Blue Jay

Juvenile Blue Jay
     Interestingly, this Praying Mantis Mantis religiosa was patrolling the nets, no doubt looking for prey.

     And this Annual Cicada (aka Dog Days Ciciada) Tibicen canicularis seemed quite content to rest on Ross' finger.

     It's always a great time to be a naturalist but spring and fall are perhaps the best times of all.
David M. Gascoigne,
David M. Gascoigne,

I'm a life long birder. My interests are birds, nature, reading, books, outdoors, travel, food and wine.


  1. Great series David. All species are new to me. Beautiful photos.
    Have a nice weekend. Gr Jan W

  2. Great post - I have done a lot of wader banding in the last few years - I think its time to get out with the passerines!

    Although I used to see that back at home in the UK, these days my reactions to woodpeckers anywhere in the world is similar to most bidders reactions to parrots here - great excitement!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  3. So neat to actually have the birds in your hand!

  4. Hello David,
    The Northern flicker is such a beautiful bird, a pity we don't have here!!
    The migration here in France is very slow, so many birds are missing, it has become a crucial concern.
    I still think all the effort should put into banning pesticides instead of stressing the birds in nets to band them and we have seen at le Teich how they can be trapped by a simple blade of grass because of the ring....
    Anyhow, a great post and lovely picture ;-)
    I hope you are both well, we are meeting Richard and Lindsay on the 4th of oct, we can't wait!!
    It will be a 10 days stag bellowing trip!
    Abrazos para ti y Miriam :)

  5. Hello David, What a beautiful birds those flickers are. I never heard of them before. Great captures of them too.

  6. Good morning!:) An excellent series of photos David. Great to see so many different species. The Flicker is. a distintive looking bird, not one I am privilaged to see here. Love the sweet grey Gnatcatcher shot, and the one of the Grey Catbird surely must be unique, what a fun moment.:)

  7. What a beautiful bird you have there, beautifully portrayed David.
    The latter is a beautiful macro shot of cicada.
    Greetings Tinie

  8. Beautiful blog and great pictures and birds. I am adding your blog link if you do not mind. My blog where you can see your linked blog is

  9. A lovely sequence on the Flickers, David. Migration is throwing up a few surprises in the garden here. We had our first Siskins of the 'winter' this morning - usually don't see them anything like this early. Also getting an unprecedented number of Goldfinch (mainly juvenile) with numbers regularly in excess of 40. It seems like there may be a food shortage further north! We're now also getting good numbers of Greenfinch and Bullfinch, and a pair of Nuthatch visiting several times a day. Sadly, the Sparrowhawk (a female) is also visiting (successfully) on a daily basis! The Hedgehogs are back in residence in the garden and one has been busiliy nest building in the box for the past two nights.

    Our very best wishes to you both - - - - - Richard

  10. Hi David,
    marvelous photos of the flicker and also the other birds. Amazing and interesting !
    Best, Synnöve

  11. Hello David,
    Nice images of these beautiful birs. So great that Northern Flicker and what a nice little bird is the Blue-grey Gnatcatcher. Very nice to see them so close in someone's hand.

    Many greetings,

  12. Stunning Northern Flicker images, number 6 is my favourite, it stands out.

  13. Me ha gustado mucho el Northern Flicker, no lo conocía y es un pájaro carpintero espectacular. También el Blue Jay, muy diferente al arrendajo euroasiático que tenemos por aquí. Estoy aprendiendo mucho de los pájaros del continente americano con este blog, muchas gracias David. Saludos desde España.

  14. Very nice flicker, were I live the only two species of woodpeckers are flickers of same genus: Colaptes. I love woodpeckers. We have also a very common dove of the same genus Zenaida. Not the same species but looks like a bit familiar

  15. His wonderful pictures of the northern flicker. I love woodpeckers and I see so many beautiful woodpeckers in the world, here in the Netherlands we have only the black, green or variegated woodpeckers but elsewhere in the world, they are much better color. The Blue Jay and the other birds are magnificent. Class.

  16. Always nice to visit your blog !
    Gorgeous collection of pictures !


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