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Northern Flickers?

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#1 BuckeyeBruce


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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:36 AM

There may not be enough info here to speculate, but I'm curious to know what you might think. In central Ohio today (Highbanks Metropark) I think I saw 10-12 Northern Flickers. Unfortunately, the only view I had of them was from the rear as they were flying away. They were bigger than a robin, about the size of a crow. They were on the ground, among tall grass and when they flew away I saw they had tan wings, a white back, and red areas on their heads. They flew to an area of trees and perched like woodpeckers. The trees were so thick, with such a tangle of branches, that my camera couldn't focus. None of them stayed long enough to manually focus. I did get a poorly focused attempt. I've never seen a Northern Flicker - do they have white backs? Also, any alternative ideas on what they might be? I'll be back to that area, hoping to see them again.

I've seen better pictures of "Nessie", but here is what I have:

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#2 jdeitsch


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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:36 AM

Yup, a Northern Flicker,
Sic semper tyrannis.


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#3 jhauser42


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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:37 AM


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#4 Phoenix Bird

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:49 AM


#5 Aveschapines



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Posted 18 February 2013 - 01:39 AM

Agreed; and I'd add that they do have white rumps (lower back, just above the tail between the wings) and that's a good field mark for a Flicker flying away from you. Also poking around on the ground (probably hunting for ants) and perching on the side of a tree trunk or large branch is very typical Flicker behavior.

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#6 Pat B.

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 05:29 AM

The red mark, which is V-shaped, on the nape is a sign that it is one of the Yellow-shafted variety (not present on Red-shafted), which is right for your location. You should be able to see the quite bright yellow under the wings and tail, and the white rump, which is very prominent. A Yellow-shafted male will have a black "moustache" (red in Red-shafted); the female has none. Helen is right about the behavior.

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