Flicker is a challenge for me. I’ve had to dig deep within myself to understand the heart of this birth totem animal. I thought of people I know who are Flicker people (those born between June 21 and July 21) – my Dad, my friends Jan and Jeff, and one trait that leapt out was that they have a lot of pride in their homes. They are always working on projects to make their homes safer, more functional, more beautiful. Much of their identity is wrapped up in their home, and it seems to be the outward shell that protects the sensitive and vulnerable part of their self. The Northern Flicker, being a woodpecker, is an industrious bird, and is considered a “keystone” species, in that the nest cavities they excavate are often used by other bird species. I guess they are the home builders of the bird world! It is this attribute of Flicker people that the words, “The Heart of Flicker is close to Home” describes.
Northern Flickers have two main variations – red-shafted in the west and yellow-shafted in the east. (Shafts refer to the underside of tail and wing feathers.) The red-shafted Flickers have a red “moustache” on their faces and a plain grayish-green crown. The yellow-shafted have black moustaches and a red “nape patch” on their heads. There are also hybrid variations between the western and eastern varieties that display characteristics of both. Learn more about Northern Flickers here.
The Flicker in this painting is a bit of a hybrid, with the black moustache and red nape patch of the eastern Flicker and the redder shafts of the western.