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Northern Flicker

Posted by Steve Rushing on December 6, 2022 at 3:24 pm
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Female (no black mustache) Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)
We most often encounter woodpeckers drilling in dead trees for insects, but they do supplement their diets with berries, especially in winter. As demonstrated by this female Northern Flicker enjoying Chinese Tallow tree (popcorn tree) berries.
This provides a great photo op, but Chinese Tallow is a problematic invasive. They grow & spread incredibly fast. They can take over large patches of forest, crowding out natives. This tree is in our neighborhood nature preserve. It has been girlded & left to become a dead snag. In the meantime, it is a woodpecker magnet.
Northern Flickers much prefer to eat ants. They are very adept at ground foraging. Even including drilling in the dirt to get the highly nutritious larvae.
Flickers are collateral damage in the war to get rid of insect ‘pests’, e.g., ants. Flicker populations are down 47% since the mid-1960s.