GNG was lucky enough to catch a rare glimpse of a Northern Flicker hunting for insects on the ground. Flickers eat vegetation (seeds and berries), but insects make up 40 – 50% of their diet. They also practice a behavior called “anting” where they rub ants on their feathers to release naturally occurring acidic chemicals. The theory being these applied chemicals stave off mites, parasites and fungi while supplementing the birds natural preening oil.
Northern Flickers are weary of people and tend to stay hidden. Listening for their calls and getting up early will improve your chances of seeing a Flicker in your yard.