14 October 2011

Red-Shafted Flicker

No. 9040 - 14 Sept 2011 - 16:59:10

No. 9751 - 29 Sept 2011 - 10:15:50

Mt. Pleasant

Out a bedroom window I rented for September there was a small, shambolic garden which was a dead zone for birds outside of the occasional crow or house sparrow. I was more likely to hear than see anything in the tall laurels and when an unusual call caught my attention I took a picture of a mysterious silhouette on top of a neighbouring cedar. Once the image was up on my computer screen and with my BIRDS of North America* on my lap, I set about identifying the visitor to my ninth level of hell. The shape of the beak and a couple of spots on the chest led me to the page of large woodpeckers known as Northern Flickers, specifically, a Red-shafted Flicker (the western form named for its red wing feather shafts) - a medium-sized land bird.

Over the next two weeks the bird returned and confirmed the identification I made with the help of my digital camera with telephoto lens. Thanks to iPhoto I can synthesize the experience for my own gratification. Birding maintains my urban connection to nature - a rare and wonderful relationship.

* by Kenn Kaufman

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