Growing on the High Plains: The Flicker of Flickers

Nov 9, 2017

The yellow-shafted and red-shafted northern flicker flashing some warm Autumn shades!

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.