For more than two months this male northern flicker and his mate maintain a territory centered around their nesting cavity in an Alaskan black spruce forest. Flickers are the most common woodpecker in Alaska’s interior.
Male peers into the snag before entering to feed the chicks by regurgitating. Ants, adults, larva and eggs are their primary food which they collect with their long, sticky tongue to probe tunnels in wood and underground.
Young red squirrels find their old flicker hole safe and secure but maybe a bit short on elbow room. Abandoned flicker cavities are in high demand as wild nurseries for a variety of small wildlife including boreal owls, tree swallows, bluebirds, and a family of day old bufflehead ducks. (right)
The most striking quality of the northern flicker is the dramatic yellow underwing and tail. Using an electronic flash brings out this beautiful detail.