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Location: MInneapolis, Minnesota, United States

I am now a simple Grandpa who's life is made richer as each grandchild is born. My wife and I have raised five children and the 30 year love labor of raising them has begun to yield sweet fruit..... And then there are fruits of 30 years in ministry ... I am a satisfied old man full of the joy of the Lord.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Northern Yellow-Shafted Flicker (Woodpecker)

I was in downtown Minneapolis today in front of the Grain Exchange building and there before me sitting on the sidewalk with its head tucked into its wing was what looked like a pigeon sized bird with markings like a pheasant and a red stripe on its neck. Animal control was called and picked the bird up but when they reached for it and wrapped it in a towel you could see that it had a beak like a woodpecker with a slight curve downward to it.

The Animal Control guy didn't know what it was and I suggested that it was some type of woodpecker. We looked in his bird book but found nothing that looked like it under "woodpeckers". After I finished up downtown I went online to see what kind of bird it might be. After an hour of looking I could not find anything that matched it. So I called Animal Control to see if they knew what it was now that they had brought it in. I found out that they had transferred the bird to the Golden Valley Humane Society. They have a bird recovery hospital. I called Golden Valley and got a recorded announcement. so I left a message. They nicely called me back and told me that this was a Northern Flicker. I had looked at many pictures of Northern Flickers and none of them looked like my bird.

But then they told me that it was a Yellow-Shafted Northern Flicker. (Vs. Red-Shafted West of the Rockies.) It seems the two species have been in-breeding now for many generations and there are many, many variations. Anyhow, I found a picture and a web site and finally confirmed that this bird today was a Yellow-Shafted Flicker. It was interesting. At least to me...;-)

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Blogger The Peterson Posse said...

Hmmm....well, I think that is interesting too. I love how you search things out. =)

9:50 PM, April 20, 2008  
Anonymous Pat said...

I enjoyed your article on the yellow shafter northern flicker. I am very new to bird viewing, but my experience was similiar to yours. I was at a park, had my binoculars and looked at this bird that I thought was just a brown bird. Thru the binoculars I could see all of the details and became very excited at my findings even though I did not know what kind of bird is was. I had just boughten the Peterson Field Guide, then did some searching on the internet and now I know it was the Northern Yellow Shafted Flicker. What a beautiful bird it is.

12:47 PM, June 27, 2008  

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