The northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) or common flicker is a medium-sized bird of the woodpecker family. It is native to most of North America, parts of Central America, Cuba, and the Cayman Islands, and is one of the few woodpecker species that migrate.
The common flickers appearance differs with the region they are from.
• Eastern Flicker has yellow underwings and red napes
• Western birds have a pinkish tone under its wings and plain napes.
• Our Northern Flicker males sport a mustache behind their bill.
So, you see they vary a little in their looks. All flickers are about 12 inches tall with a brown barred back and spotted tan to cream bellies.
BIRD OF 100 NAMES
The bird has over 100 common names most of which come from the sound of it’s call. Names like yellowhammer, gaffer woodpecker, harry-wicket, heigh-ho, wake-up, walk-up, wick-up, yarrup, and gawker bird.
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Flickers appearance differs with the region they are from (Eastern vs Western). Western flickers have some yellow in their tail feathers.
All flicker birds are fun to watch searching for insects in trees and lawns.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE NORTHERN FLICKER WOODPECKER
• 12 inches tall with a brown barred back and spotted tan to cream bellies.
• The birds have red napes and males sport a mustache behind their bill.
• They have curved beaks and a tongue that is three inches longer than their bills to reach into the logs and trees that they are drilling on.
This is one bird that doesn’t have to compete for food since they also search the ground, which is unlike any bird of their species.
WHAT THEY EAT IN THE WILD
WHAT THEY EAT AT THE FEEDER
1.) Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are a great nutrition source.
- Great all-around bird food for wild birds
- Contains no shells and is 100% edible
- No waste, no weeds
- Attracts buntings, cardinals, chickadees, finches, flickers, grosbeaks, red-breasted nuthatches, white-breasted nuthatches, redpolls, titmice, towhees, woodpeckers and more
- Use in a feeder that offers protection from the elements
2.) Dried Fruits & Berries
In the Midwest winters berry and fruit options are limited. Purchase bird seed blends with berries & dried fruits to attract a variety of birds.
If you want to cut costs, collect your own fruits and berries in the fall and dry them. Create your own special bird seed blends to your feeders throughout the winter.
Small square cage suet feeders work just fine for the smaller birds but you may want to upgrade to the larger variety if you want to attract Northern Flickers.
Northern Flickers like suet feeders with a large base. If you want to attract them to the feeders try the elongated two cake suet variety feeders.
4.) Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is an excellent winter treat for woodpeckers, blue jays and nuthatches.
Try this on for a winter treat for all woodpeckers.
Fill suet plug log feeders with chunky peanut butter and hang from a shepherd’s hook or a tree branch.
5.) Apple Pieces
Flickers are not fussy when it comes to apples pieces and chunks, thus the birds will eat both fresh and dried apples
Purchase raisins to add to your feeders. Soak raisins overnight and place in a tray feeder.
There are a wealth of birds beside the Northern Flicker that enjoy raisins . Raisins attract robins, waxwings, bluebirds, and mockingbirds.
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ADD NESTING BOXES TO YOUR YARD
The birds are cavity nesters which typically nest in trees, but they also use posts and birdhouses if sized and situated appropriately.
Want year round enjoyment of flickers? Add a nesting box to your yard. because raising new little ones is a joy to watch.
They enjoy nesting boxes with holes 2-1/2 inches in diameter and 15 inches off the floors box.
Be sure to get a design with a up-swinging door for cleaning. This will save you a ton of time in yearly cleaning.
Their breeding habitat consists of forested areas across North America and as far south as Central America.
• 1 to 2 weeks are needed for a mated pair to build the nest.
• A clutch consists of six to eight eggs smooth, high gloss white eggs.
• The second-largest eggs of the North American woodpecker species. (#1 is)
• Incubation is by both sexes for about 11 to 12 days.
• Young are fed by regurgitation & fledge about 25 to 28 days after hatching.
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OFFER WANT THEY LIKE & THEY WILL COME
Attracting Northern flickers is not too difficult just be sure to offer foods they enjoy and give them alternative places to raise their young that meet the above requirements. In no time at all you will have flickers and additional woodpeckers visiting your yard.
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