Saturday, January 20, 2007

My Friends Flicker...

Click on photos to enlarge - © 2007 jim otterstrom
The gorgeously cloaked Northern (Red-Shafted) Flicker (Colaptus auratus cafer)!!!
This western variant of the Northern Flicker is one of the most common birds in Big Bear Valley, residing here year 'round. The male is the one in the lower photo with the handsome red mustache (malar), but the lovely female isn't hard on the eyes either.
They aren't called "red-shafted" because of the mustache though. That designation comes from the color of the feathers lining their wings and tail, which are red or orange in the western variety, and yellow in the "yellow-shafted" northern and eastern form (the male and female of the Yellow-Shafted form have a red crescent on the back of the head and the male has a black mustache).
In the deserts of Arizona, California, and Baja California, there is another variety known as the Gilded Flicker which has the head of a Red-Shafted (no red-crescent and a red mustache on the males) and the body of a Yellow-Shafted (yellow feathers lining the wings and tail).
I've posted pictures of Red-Shafted Flickers previously but these two were hanging around the birdbaths and suet cages today, begging to be photographed, and I was more than happy to oblige.

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Blogger BurdockBoy said...

great shots. i love how flickers fly-it's always easy to pick them out.

unfortunately our flickers head a bit south of here in the winter so we rely on the woodpeckers and nuthatches to chow the suet.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have the yellow variety at Roundrock, and, curiously, I generally seem to see them in pairs. Excellent photography.

4:07 AM  
Blogger clairesgarden said...

you hypnotise them first right? so they wont fly away as soon as you point a camera at them?
nice pictures!

1:54 AM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

I love your photos! I also love the flickers that hang out in my yard.

One day, when there were little blue berries on the holly, I watched a young flicker trying to get hold of them. He kept hopping up and trying to grab berries and it wasn't working. Unfortunately, I needed to go back into the house to get some work done.

When I came back out, I saw the flap of a wing in my peripheral vision and I whipped around to see a jaw-dropping sight. The poor little flicker had somehow gotten himself hung in one of the spaces between the boards of our fence, and he was in desperate straits.

Luckily, I was able to lift him back up and out of the fence. He sat in my hands for a moment or two and then flew away, and sad as I was to think of what might have happened to him, I felt blessed that I had been able to help him and that I was privileged to hold so much beauty in my palms.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Tim Hodgens said...

Jim: I agree with Claire, you must have a great hypnotic charm.

After you've put a spell on them you are then using an old fashioned instamatic?

Really, what are you using for camera gear, if you'd care to share that.


6:59 AM  
Blogger Madcap said...

Yesterday morning I clicked into your flickers. Nice, I thought. They sure do have exotic birds in Californ-eye-ay. Then I took the kids to the museum in the afternoon and hold and below! The very same flickers, in the Alberta Wildlife exhibit! They're mountainous and I'm not, though, which is why we haven't had the pleasure of each others acquaintance til now.

3:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, I love your photos of the beautiful flickers. Really, I hate to sound crazy and all, but when I see God/dess's creatures, I get all choked up. What a beautiful Earth we live on. Nature is amazing.

Carolyn, I don't know if you will be back to read this, but I loved your story. One thing that always strikes me is how intertwined the fates of all creatures are. I am glad you were there for that little flicker! - Kathy in Kentucky

7:34 AM  

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