On a recent visit to Canalway Center, I saw a pair of these cool birds. They are large, brown woodpeckers with handsome black-spotted plumage. Males have a black “mustache.”
Unlike Ohio’s other woodpeckers, Northern Flickers spend a lot of time on the ground hunting for ants and beetles, digging for them with their unusual, slightly curved bill. Northern Flickers probably eat ants more frequently than any other North American bird.
These birds generally nest in holes in trees like other woodpeckers. And like most woodpeckers, they drum on objects as a form of communication and territory defense.
The Northern Flicker’s habitat is open forests, woodlots, groves, towns and farmlands. It has a wide range, from Alaska to Nicaragua, and can be found in almost any habitat with trees; though it tends to avoid dense unbroken forests, because it requires open ground for foraging.
When ants are not available, this bird consumes a variety of fruits and berries, especially in Fall and Winter – it also eats seeds and nuts at times.
Northern Flickers migrate the farthest of all woodpeckers. They often fly to the northernmost parts of Mexico or to the southern parts of the United States. However, depending on the individual, some prefer to stay in the northern regions of the United States.