This woodpecker is the eastern, yellow-shafted race of the Northern Flicker. I have recently posted on this species in this blog, but I was happy to be able to share with you this species’ yellow-shafted tail feathers. The wing shafts are similarly colored. The flicker flashes this color during courtship and for territorial defense.
Northern Flickers are common and often visit bird feeders. Nevertheless, significant declines in flicker populations have been noted in Breeding Bird Surveys. The cause of this trend is not known. Habitat loss and competition with European Starlings for nesting holes have both been suggested Wiebe and Moore (2008). Indeed, years ago in South Dakota, we watched breeding flickers displaced by starlings in a dead backyard tree. The woodpeckers won’t be back. The new home owners long ago removed our flicker hotel.