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Growing on the High Plains: The Flicker of Flickers

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The time is ripe for a flash of red and gold over a white rump, flickering through the sky and trees,  as well as digging dinner from the ground. (All you High Plains ornithophiles will know what I’m talking about!)

Today on Growing on the High Plains, I'll discuss Northern flickers (Colaptes auratus)—the medium-to-large, brownish woodpeckers that tend to appear when the colder seasons are near. Spotting their showy, dotted plumage always pairs well with our vibrant, changing leaves in the fall. 

On the High Plains, we’re more likely to see the yellow-shafted flicker, which inhabits eastern North America, as well as the red-shafted flicker, which tend to hang out further to the west. One of the few woodpecker species that migrate, northern flickers also feast primarily on ants and beetles, so don’t be surprised if you catch them on the ground. 

PHOTO CREDIT: Credit Photo by goingslo. Licensed by Creative Commons (NC-ND 2.0).

Years ago Skip Mancini left the rocky coast of Northern California to return to her roots in the heartland. Her San Francisco friends, concerned over her decision to live in a desolate flatland best known for a Hollywood tornado, were afraid she would wither and die on the vine. With pioneer spirit, Skip planted a garden. She began to learn about growing not only flowers and vegetables, but hearts and minds. If you agree that the prairie is a special place, we think you'll enjoy her weekly sojourns into Growing on the High Plains.