This is the time of year when birds can come and go quickly as they stop by our yards on migration or just for a snack as they go about their lives. Sitting in my office working away today, I glanced out the window at just the right moment for a fantastic view of such a visitor - a northern flicker who has happily discovered the sunflower hearts in my feeder.
Northern flickers (the red-shafted variety, which you can see under the bird's tail and on the wings in flight) are year-round residents here in Utah, but only rarely do they stop by my yard. I've seen them both at my front yard feeders and in the backyard, but I always feel privileged by their infrequent visits. This bird stayed at precariously balanced at the feeder for several minutes, pecking and licking at the oily seed, much to the dismay of the house sparrows, house finches, and Eurasian collared-doves that feel the feeder belongs solely to them. They didn't quite know what to make of this large visitor, particularly since she was not inclined to share and would lunge and nip at the smaller birds that tried to land near her powerful bill.
The photo here isn't the best, taken as it was through my less than sparkling office window with its screen and shutters, but it does capture the beauty of this bird and its inquisitive nature. I'm very pleased she's discovered my feeders again, and I hope she returns.