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Photo Submission

Submitted By

Theresa Nickels

Grand Rapids, MI, United States


I watched the silhouette of this guy from my deck slider door for about an hour one Saturday in February. He sat in the tree above my deck for almost an hour and I assumed he was a red-belled woodpecker who visits my yard often. I finally took a break from my work and headed outside with my camera. To my surprise, just as I came around to the backyard the Northern Flicker shook out his beautiful feathers to stretch and relieve himself. I was pleasantly surprised to see the beautiful display and to capture it to share. I am quite excited to say that this is the first Flicker that I have ever seen in our yard and I hope not the last.

Fan Dancer

Showing off the yellow shaft.

2 replies on “Fan Dancer”

Donna Barski says:

Hi Theresa!

We all love to be surprised and I can well imagine how you must have felt when you finally saw this Northern Flicker – thinking all the while it was a red-bellied woodpecker.

And then, you had be quick and steady to get this most interesting action pose that shows off the flicker’s plumage in a way we never get to see. I love it!

You are a good photographer and a patient and determined naturalist!


You asked me about the ID of your hawk photo from last week. I answered you, but you probably did not get that message since I was late submitting it.

Anyway – after looking at hawk photos in Sibley’s bird guide and reviewing the other submissions on BS – I narrowed its ID down to Cooper’s, as you did. The tail pattern and shape are what convinced me that is was a Cooper’s. I am not good at hawk ID – but I was willing to give it a shot. And this hawk does visit our woods from time to time. This was a good exercise for me!

Did you get a definite ID on your “leggy” handsome hawk? Were we right?

Theresa Nickels says:

Donna, thank you so much! I appreciate your kind comments and encouragement. I love watching and photographing my backyard birds and I have learned so much from browsing through these photos every week.
Yes, after seeing all of the immature Cooper’s posted with beautiful long white tipped tails and those square, squatty “red” tails of the red-tailed hawks aI knew I need to rethink my initial ID. Thank you for your assistance!

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