BirdCam:  Northern Flicker

When I moved the BirdCam station the other day and hung the suet feeder as a lure, I hoped to catch a shot of the beautiful Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus).  It didn't take long.  I got a fairly good photo on the first day and some better ones since.  They find suet irresistible.  These are probably my best BirdCam photos yet.

Observant birders will find some curiosities with these photos.  There are two races of Northern Flicker.  As a rule, Yellow-shafted Flickers live in the East and Red-shafted Flickers in the West with intergrade variants found in the Great Plains.  Yellow-shafted birds are known to visit Washington in the fall and winter.  This bird has yellow highlights on the tail and wing feathers, gray crown and brown cheeks, characteristics of the Yellow-shafted race.  It does not have a red nape crescent, however, which would point to the Red-shafted form.  I have decided this bird must be a juvenile Red-shafted Northern Flicker which has not fully developed her adult colors.  I know she is a female because she lacks a mustache mark (red for the Red-shafted and black for the Yellow-shafted).  According to BirdWeb, Red-shafted intergrades in Washington usually sport a red nape crescent.  Confused yet?  I am.  Regardless of her exact identification, she is a magnificent bird and a welcome catch for the BirdCam.  The same bird seems to like to return to the station:

She is a bit of a messy eater...

...but a nifty bird, nevertheless.

I would appreciate hearing from anyone who knows if this bird is a Yellow-shafted visitor, an intergrade or a juvenile Red-shafted Northern Flicker.  The new location for the BirdCam looks like it will be productive.  So far, it has not caught the attention of the Starlings, but I am on the lookout.