Northern Flicker

(Yellow-shafted Flicker)

Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Colaptes
Species: auratus

Gr. pikos woodpecker
La. picus woodpecker
Gr. picus Circe, mythological daughter of Helios, changed Picus, son of Saturn, into a woodpecker
La. forma form, shape, kind
La. -idae appearance, resemblance
Gr. kolaptes chiseller
Gr. kolapto chisel, pick away
La. auratus golden

A large woodpecker, about twelve inches long. Gray head with red patch on the back of the head. Light brown undersides with black or dark brown spots.

Water color of northern flicker foraging on a decaying stump with foliage in the background.
Black wavy bars on brownish gray wings, yellow bordered wing feathers and yellow under wings.
USGS map shows flickers range in Alaska, most of Canada and the States east of the Rocky Mountain's eastern slopes and to Central America.
Inhabits forests, groves, farms, and towns from parts of Alaska, throughout most of Canada and the States east of the Rocky Mountain’s eastern slopes and below 55 degrees latitude south to Central America.
A noisy bird, it emits the familiar, quickly repeated, short quit-quit-quit- quit-quit-quit and an incredibly loud, high pitched Keee-yer! like an ungreased wheel. And another of its calls Audubon described as, “a prolonged jovial laugh”

Odd for a woodpecker, the flicker is primarily a ground feeder. It eats ants and other insects, grubs, worms, berries and sour gum fruit.

Flicker nests have been discovered in an old wagon hub on the treeless prairie, in barrels, in the crevices of deserted barns and out houses.

Chips out several cavities or nests in an abandoned or natural cavity in decaying trees, cactuses, or fence posts from within reach to twenty feet or higher. Absent its usual choices it will use what is at hand.

Painting of northern flicker perched in front of a tree cavity with a grassy ground and foliage in the background.
Females lay a varying number of white eggs which hatch after about two weeks incubation and young leave the nest in about another four weeks.
The Northern Flicker Birdhouse (same as for Lewis Woodpecker, Saw-Whet Owl, Pigmy Owl and Grackle) has a 7″ by 7″ floor, 16″ inside ceiling, 2 1/2″ diameter entrance hole located 14″ above the floor and ventilation openings.

Assemble with corrosion resistant screws fit to pre-drilled countersunk pilot holes to reduce wood splitting. Secure hinged roof with shutter hooks for easy access.  Fill the box with wood chips, not sawdust.

Mount this nest box on a tree trunk about eye level or just out of reach, higher if desired, in a forest, grove, farm country tree stand or a park where dead trees, their preferred choice, have been removed.

Installations at significant heights should be installed and maintained by professionals, carpenters, electricians, power line workers, etc.

Other woodpeckers, fly catchers, even titmice and nuthatches also may use this nest box.

Attract flickers to areas with most any berry bush or fruit tree, especially bayberry, choke cherry and sour gum.

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Northern Flicker

(Yellow-shafted Flicker)

Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Colaptes
Species: auratus

Gr. pikos woodpecker
La. picus woodpecker
Gr. picus Circe, mythological daughter of Helios, changed Picus, son of Saturn, into a woodpecker
La. forma form, shape, kind
La. -idae appearance, resemblance
Gr. kolaptes chiseller
Gr. kolapto chisel, pick away
La. auratus golden

A large woodpecker, about twelve inches long. Gray head with red patch on the back of the head. Light brown undersides with black or dark brown spots. Black wavy bars on brownish gray wings, yellow bordered wing feathers and yellow under wings.

USGS map shows flickers range in Alaska, most of Canada and the States east of the Rocky Mountain's eastern slopes and to Central America.
Inhabits forests, groves, farms, and towns from parts of Alaska, throughout most of Canada and the States east of the Rocky Mountain’s eastern slopes and below 55 degrees latitude south to Central America.

A noisy bird, it emits the familiar, quickly repeated, short quit-quit-quit- quit-quit-quit and an incredibly loud, high pitched Keee-yer! like an ungreased wheel. And another of its calls Audubon described as, “a prolonged jovial laugh”

Painting of northern flicker perched in front of a tree cavity with a grassy ground and foliage in the background.
Odd for a woodpecker, the flicker is primarily a ground feeder. It eats ants and other insects, grubs, worms, berries and sour gum fruit.

Flicker nests have been discovered in an old wagon hub on the treeless prairie, in barrels, in the crevices of deserted barns and out houses.

Chips out several cavities or nests in an abandoned or natural cavity in decaying trees, cactuses, or fence posts from within reach to twenty feet or higher. Absent its usual choices it will use what is at hand.

Females lay a varying number of white eggs which hatch after about two weeks incubation and young leave the nest in about another four weeks.

The Northern Flicker Birdhouse (same as for Lewis Woodpecker, Saw-Whet Owl, Pigmy Owl and Grackle) has a 7″ by 7″ floor, 16″ inside ceiling, 2 1/2″ diameter entrance hole located 14″ above the floor and ventilation openings.

Select to view or print owl woodpecker grackle birdhouse plans.
Assemble with corrosion resistant screws fit to pre-drilled countersunk pilot holes to reduce wood splitting. Secure hinged roof with shutter hooks for easy access.  Fill the box with wood chips, not sawdust.

Mount this nest box on a tree trunk about eye level or just out of reach, higher if desired, in a forest, grove, farm country tree stand or a park where dead trees, their preferred choice, have been removed.

Installations at significant heights should be installed and maintained by professionals, carpenters, electricians, power line workers, etc.

Other woodpeckers, fly catchers, even titmice and nuthatches also may use this nest box.

Attract flickers to areas with most any berry bush or fruit tree, especially bayberry, choke cherry and sour gum.

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