Posts Tagged 'feathers'


Northern Flicker, yellow-shafted edition of the east. They have mostly passed through in migration by now, but a couple of weeks ago, the city was full of them.This Colaptes auratus male — females lack the black mustache marks — excreted while perched up here. Most of these birds are pretty skittish, bolting quickly at the first sign of anything. I’ve come across dogwood trees this fall that have emptied of a dozen flickers before I could say “pardon me.”The “yellow shafted” refers to the wing feathers, best seen from below, winking yellow in flight. Or at kill sites: I find plucked Flicker feathers a lot during migration. Finding whole wings are a bit unusual, but it’s the breast meat that predators go for, all that blood-rich flight muscle.This is our only woodpecker species that spends a lot of time on the ground, foraging for ants, beetles, and larvae of same, probably making them more vulnerable to predation from above. This one’s bill is dirty from poking into the ground.

Out west, the Flickers have red-shafted feathers. In between, they tend to intergrade.

Feather Quiz

Starting with a gimme, a bit of exotica.Found along a pond in Westchester Co.Found at the northern end of Central Park.

Answers in comments. It’ll take several days to get back to ya’ll.


Looks like a crown feather of an American Woodcock to me. Just under an inch long. On the snow in Prospect; it was devilishly difficult to get the warm gold of the edging accurately into digital form!And you can, I think, see these crown feathers pretty well here.


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