One of my favorite birds to see in flight is the Red-shafted Northern Flicker. I've been trying for months to capture their in-flight beauty. Luckily, I was able to get some half-decent flicker photos at my lunch hour birding patch recently. I took the pictures and made the fun composite image shown above...a la Crossley ID Guide. The primary flight feathers show an awesome shade of orange both on top and from below. Check out the cool spotted belly and flanks and the strong woodpecker bill. It sports a lovely crimson mustache and a black chest plate. The only photos I'm missing now are of the brilliant white rump patch.
I really appreciate that eBird allows us to enter the common and identifiable subspecies of birds, which results in maps that we can separate into subspecies too. Amazing what we can learn by this. Just check out these Northern Flicker maps:
This first map shows everything reported to eBird as a Northern Flicker - pretty solid coverage of North and Central America.
Red-shafted Northern Flickers don't seem to comply with any immigration laws. What I find interesting is that eastern North America doesn't even show any reports of vagrant Red-shafted Northern Flickers. They also only make it down to southern Mexico, and not into the rest of Central America.
I understand, due to comments on previous blog posts, that Northern Flicker Intergrades are more common in the great plains of North America than either of the "pure" subspecies. Is that the same for you folks on the west coast?
Fascinating information gathered by eBirders like me and you! Make sure to give all of those Flickers out there a second look and report them in eBird by subspecies if you can.