February 25, 2014

Flight of the Flicker

Photograph by Paul Nicklen, National Geographic

A northern flicker flies from the nest it has chipped out of a tree at the edge of a small pond near Whitehorse in the Canadian Yukon.

See more pictures from the February 2014 feature story "Yukon: Canada’s Wild West.”

Paul Nicklen speaks on protecting polar regions »

62 comments
Ramneek Kalra
Ramneek Kalra

what an awesome pic... the effort put to get this pic is noteworthy

Daniela B
Daniela B

National Geographic, quanto mi sei mancata! 

k.m. mathew
k.m. mathew

As an English teacher i am pained to see nothing is done such as MIE, media in education by NG to catch especially the rural  young. Yes NG is popular among affluent students.  But in India the potential  lies in the villages I wish you will do something to ignite the interest of young in nature. And a cost effective or free penetration of NG  into the godforsaken village children will be something historical. I am doing my mite showing print outs and explanations to the entertainment hooked students. Is this irrelevant, ignore it.


Thank you

k.mmathew   

Thomas Chapman
Thomas Chapman

I found this fellow enjoying our great Arizona winter weather as he pecked away on a tree in our backyard last week.

Mark Rikard
Mark Rikard

Wait.  It's flying FROM the nest?  With an insect in its mouth?


J. Bookman
J. Bookman

Absolutely beautiful birds.  I love these kind.  We have a select few in the neighbourhood... very powerful flight.  They bob kind of.  Like a Robin except Flickers are larger.  Anyways.  Very beautiful birds.  Majestic even.

marco Luna
marco Luna

One of these flew into my office window this summer. As he lay dazed and unable to fly, several Magpies moved in for the kill. As they started to stab at the poor Flicker, I felt compelled to help. I went out and fended the Magpies off. Of course they came back after a while so I spent several hours that morning going in and out to chase away Magpies. Eventually the Flicker came around and was able to fly away on his own. I was really taken by the beautiful markings of the Flicker. First time I ever seen one that close.

Ivan Lesica
Ivan Lesica

Great shot ,great timing !! Love the movement !

Sally k.
Sally k.

This photo must have taken your breath away, it did mine.

Lon Jett
Lon Jett

WOW! Talk about being in the right place at the right time. A fabulous shot.  LJ

D. Boswell
D. Boswell

What an amazing photograph! It expresses the core ideals behind photography; capturing the ephemeral moments.

Dibyendu Ash
Dibyendu Ash

What a beautifully captured birdie!! :-)


Joy Saldanha
Joy Saldanha

Every detail in this one is perfection. The flicker's wings in motion are caught looking as though transparent, and that for me is THE picture. The tree chipping must have been a lot of hard work for the bird, who has made its nest entrance through a near perfect hole in the tree.  j.e.s.     

pamela letstalkaboutcorsica
pamela letstalkaboutcorsica

such harmony of shades, as though his flight would go (naturally) unseen somehow .. nature's blending, perfectly timed.

siraj ali
siraj ali

impossible picture to take.  astounding. 

Judy Neal
Judy Neal

@Mark Rikard  I think you will find that the Flicker is carrying a bag of it's chick's droppings away from the nest. This is normal behaviour for most birds while their  chicks are still in the nest. Absolutely brilliant photo of bird behaviour.

Lawrence Sibley
Lawrence Sibley

@Mark Rikard  My first impression also was that the flicker had something held in its beak, but I now think that section of the photo is an image of the front of the bird's beak, an artifact of the rapid forward motion of the flicker during the exposure.


If that's the case, then it's remarkable that the eye of the flicker is so sharply in focus.

Janice H.
Janice H.

@marco Luna       Glad I'm not the only one who tries to help out sometimes in these cases.     Sometimes when nature's innocents are in trouble, it's just the right thing to do.      Thank you.

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