Northern flicker preening by the Cocheco River. Sue Pike photo
shafted flickers on the East Coast and red-shafted flickers on the West Coast. Now they've been lumped together as one species-the Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus). Flickers are common around here and easy to identify-they are large tannish-brown woodpeckers with a prominent white rump patch that is easy to see when they are flying away from you. Not as easy to see is the beautiful yellow coloration of the undersides of the tail and wing feathers.
One neat thing about them-you're as likely to see them on the ground as in a tree digging for ants and beetles with their slightly curved bill. They have barbed tongues that they use to snag the ants.