June 2021 - 7

OPENING SHOT
Cleaning house
Photo: by Tim Christie
Gear: Canon EOS R5
Settings: 1/2500 sec, f/7.1, ISO 400
P
hotographers never know what they'll
find when they get up early to search
for photo subjects. Rarely, but often
enough, photographers stumble on something
that is simply amazing. This photo of a
northern red-shafted flicker is an example.
I was walking along a trail trying to find
a ruffed grouse doing his spring ritual of
drumming up a female when a bunch of
wood chips came flying down in front of me.
Trying to understand what was happening, I
backed up to look at the tree I'd been standing
beneath. As I looked up at the tree, a female
flicker peeked out of a hole in the trunk and
spit a mouthful of wood chips.
I backed up, focused my 800mm lens and
caught her cleaning the nest twice more. I've
never seen anything like this before, and likely
never will again.
The red-shafted flicker is a subspecies of
the northern flicker. These birds excavate nest
holes in tree trunks, and both sexes help with
nest excavation. The entrance to their nest
is about 3 inches wide, and the cavity is 13-16
inches deep. Instead of building a nest, the
cavity has a bed of wood chips at the bottom
for eggs and chicks to rest. Unlike many other
woodpeckers, flickers often reuse cavities they
previously excavated or nest in cavities built by
another species.
I could never find situations like this sitting
in the living room watching TV. Nature always
gives more to life when you're out enjoying it.
Wyoming Wildlife | 7

June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of June 2021

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https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/october-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/september-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/august-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/may-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/april-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/march-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/february-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/January2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/December2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/wyominggame/WyomingWildlife/September2020
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com