Nature clicks #188 - Female Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker  

It is this time of the year when temperatures may go below zero, both, in degree Celsius and Fahrenheit. It is also a great time for bird photography for two different reasons. First the birds come close to the house, to feeders, and most importantly to places where they can get some water to drink. If you make the efforts to provide food and water, by means of a heated bird bath for instance, you can create a good environment that draws the birds close to your camera. The second reason is the light. The snow that covers the ground works like a giant reflector and helps to make decent images without fiddling with additional light sources. Yes, a fill flash coming from a little softbox might be very helpful, especially if the sun is hidden behind clouds, but with sun light the “snow reflector” does a pretty good job.

I had written before here in the blog that we have seen up to six different woodpecker species on our ridge above the Little Maquoketa River Valley. The Northern Flicker is one of them but usually we see them only briefly during late autumn or from late winter into early spring. However, this season we watch a couple of  them every day. This is the biggest woodpecker that comes to our feeders. They are slightly bigger than an adult Red-bellied Woodpecker. The Northern Flicker is only outsized by the Pileated Woodpecker but these big birds do not visit the suet feeders or even come near the house.

Today I had a chance to make a few clicks on this female Northern Flicker. Both sexes are easy to distinguish. The females resemble the males and have a black half moon shaped spot on their chest but they lack the black moustache stripes in their face. The Northern Flickers seem to be a lot more cautious and nervous than the other woodpeckers that are here all year long and so I’m very happy to share this image with you today.