Birdies of the Bay

BIRDIES OF THE BAY - Colaptes auratus
By Julianna Marinelli, Horticulturalist

The Northern Flicker is a large brown woodpecker with a slim round head and flared tail. Oddly enough they can be spotted foraging on the ground; where they spend most of their time. Unlike most woodpeckers, flickers eat ants and beetles using a curved beak to dig in the ground. 

Flickers appear all brown with a small white patch on their rump. If you get close enough you'll notice small spots on the brown sections on their bodies. When flying you will notice a flash of bright red underneath their wings (yellow if you're on the east coast). The oldest known "red-shafted" flicker is known to be almost 9 years old, while the "yellow-shafted" flicker almost 10 years.

To spot a flicker, look in open habitats near woodlands, edges, yards and parks. Out on the west coast you can find them in mountain forests all the way up to the tree lines but mostly you can find them scurrying across the ground.