autumn-moments{Octoberfest is my blog event in which I attempt to write every day during the month of October as a pre-cursor to Nanowrimo in November. Welcome to the insanity.}

I am not getting this out before midnight. My apologies. I’m also kind of at a loss of what to write. I’m trying to stick to non-fiction because that’s what I struggle with, but my prompt is “flicker.”

So prepare to learn about the Northern Flicker (aka, yellowhammer, the state bird of Alabama, clape, gaffer woodpecker, harry-wicket, heigh-ho, wake-up, walk-up, wick-up, yarrup, and gawker bird), a woodpecker that can be found primarily in North America, Central America, Cuba, as well as the Cayman Islands.

I have to say, it’s a beauty of a bird. These birds look like the life of the party with a black mark on their breasts that looks like a black pendant (they prefer dressing up, I presume) and black spots all over their bodies (rocking the leopard print). There are two types of Northern Flickers, yellow-shafted and red-shafted (these refer to the colors in the shafts of the feathers). The yellow-shafted males have gray heads and rock a black mustache, perhaps indicative of their evil side. They can also have a red crescent on the nape of their neck. Their red-shafted brethren also sports a mustache, but a red one. I have a feeling these ones have more fun and a bawdy laugh or two. This bird actually does laugh; it makes a ki ki ki ki sound. They also have gorgeous red tails.

The females of both the red and yellow-shafts prefer to leave their jewelry at home, but like the red at the nape of their necks. These ladies are seen on the ground more often than any other species of woodpecker because ants are the Norther Flicker’s primary source of food. So they don’t peck wood as much as some other woodpeckers.

The oldest Northern Flicker lived to be a little more than nine, which is pretty long for a bird. Another cool thing is that they fence for prospective mates by waving their beaks around.

While Northern birds migrate, often ones that live in the South stay year-round.

This was fun to research and I’m kind of excited to see one of these gorgeous birds when I return home. If you live in the States, keep your eyes peeled for the Northern Flicker!



2 thoughts on “Flicker

  1. pipst says:

    1. It’s still the 2nd here, so I think you’re good 😉
    2. Since you mentioned that it’s the AL state bird, I thought I’d mention it’s also in the Bama winning cheer, Rammer Jammer, Yellow Hammer


  2. Colleen Thorsen says:

    So…. you made your mom crack up with…. “I have to say, it’s a beauty of a bird”

    Reminds me of the interior design look…. put a bird on it. So we wrote nonfiction about a bird. Well done. Smile.

    Good to know this info, it encouraged me to look it up.


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