Seasonal Observations: Northern Flicker

This is my first bird identification.

I have ‘sighted’ a northern flicker.

I’m inordinately excited.

It’s exciting to have a name for this strange bird that appeared in my yard, because somehow, the ability to name it brings me into closer relationship and community with my backyard, just like knowing the name of my server at Mile One (hey Craig), the guy making my latte (hey Max), my neighbour (hey Andy), and the guy at the table next to me at the cafe who always smiles at my kid (hi Dave.)


It also makes me happy because I emailed John Tschopp a blurry picture of a bird with its beak down and head obscured (I won’t attach it, it’s embarrassingly bad, but hey, I shot it through the glass with a baby in one arm), and he pulled an ID from it.

The picture is a male Northern Flicker (the female does not have any red on the cheeks). This bird is one of the year-round Pemberton birds. In our yard it feeds on our pecker stick with the woodpeckers.

And he sent me the photo above.

That was exciting too…

Brushing up against other people’s passion and knowledge is inspiring. And I’m grateful he indulged me. (I’m not sure he’d want me to tell you that he did… I can’t imagine he wants a dozen blurry photos stuffing his inbox.) But now I understand why Dawn Johnson from Stewardship Pemberton said to me, “You should get John as a columnist for the Winds of Change.”


In all these ways, I feel my sense of place and my sense of belonging to this place deepen. Flicker. Flicker. Flicker. Come home.

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