Would anyone be willing to help me identify a bird I saw yesterday?
The bird was dead, washed up on the beach on the sounth end of Lake Michigan in the Indiana Dunes State Park.
The most notable aspect of the bird was a bright yellow under the wings and tail.
At some portions of the yellow underparts, such as the base of the tail, the yellow was somewhat mottled.
The bird was somewhat the worse for wear, but it appeared as tho the body was mosty black-ish above and under, and the wings and tail appeared black-ish from above.
I say black-ish, because I got the impression it might appear somewhat mottled, like a starling.
It was a medium sized bird - may have even been slightly larger than a starling.
Had a pretty long, slightly downcurved beak.
There were several birds washed up yesterday - more than I usually see.
I imagine migration has begun and these guys ran out of gas over the lake.
It was definitely bigger than a warbler - at least as large as a starling/grackle.
And it had a pretty impressively long beak - I’d say dagger-like, tho with a slight downward curve.
The yellow was not in patches - instead, it appeared as tho the bottom side of all of the wing and tail fethers was yellow.
When I turned it over, it appeared as tho the yellow was far less visible - if at all - from above.
The body and back appeared a mottled grey-black - tho it had apparently been in the water and on the beach for at least a little while.
I’ve tried to do a little birding in a very amateurish manner.
It often bothers me when I think I’ve paid careful attention to a bird’s identifying characteristics, only to be unable to identify it in guides afterwards.
Oh sure, easy for the amateurs to show up and claim “me too!” after the adults have resolved things!
Just kidding, of course.
As I was searching with no success through the on-line guides, my first thought was “Colibri would know!”
Tho I’ve seen flickers, I guess I never saw them from below in flight.
It really shocked me that I was unable to turn up anything in the guides using the secondary color of yellow.
As I said, it was really an imressive display of color.
Instead, I kept getting results like red winged blackbird and other birds with little patches of yellow, as opposed to the broad swaths of color on this bird.
The time in the water really did a job on the dorsal color - and the head was pretty chewed up, or else I might have guessed something along the lines of woodpecker.
Was quite a dance, trying to check the bird out, while keeping my dumb mutt from rolling in it!
The crayola yellow + funky bill is the giveaway. The flicker is a striking bird even when anteating on the ground with yellow feathers concealed, beautifully marked. Very cool creature, another good reason to avoid lawn chemicals. The yellow feathers are prized by fly fishermen, too. Glad we named it for you!
I’ve also heard the name Yellow-Shafted Flicker, to distinguish it from the Red-Shafted Flicker. The yellow-shafted live in Eastern North America, the red-shafted in the west. I believe the two types of flicker were once considered to be different species, but are now considered to be subspecies of the “Northern Flicker”.