I’m sorry I don’t have a picture…if I see one again, I’ll run and get my camera.
A bit of background: I live in Portland, Oregon, USA, and this was right at sunset.
I was watering some plants and I saw a big bird fly into my gigantic cherry tree. Even at dusk I could tell it was a special bird, so I walked over to the truck of the tree. About ten feet up, he had landed…clinging to the tree bark.
His neck was red, and so was his forehead. His back and wings reminded me of the same pattern you see on a pheasant. His beak was long and narrow…reminded me of a hummingbird. His overall color was kind of a rusty brown, except darker for that pheasant-like pattern.
If you can point me to some pics, I’m sure I could identify it. I have never seen a bird like it, and it was…just amazing. I’m not a bird fancier, but something about this bird just seemed so cool.
If that’s what it looked like, then that’s what it was. Actually, that was my first guess, except for your description of it having red on the chest. I can’t account for the differences you noted, unless the bird has some kind of odd color variation, or mayby it was pecking at a freshly painted barn. But there isn’t any other bird that I can think of in the Pacific northwest except Northern Flicker that it’s likely to be.
Flickers are common in Oregon. I have some feeders in my back yard and they come for the suet frequently.
I was fortunate enough earlier this year to have a red-breated sapsucker visit the Maple tree in my yard. They are very shy, reclusive creatures, but beautifully colored. I also have a pair of Downy woodpeckers nested nearby that are frequent visitors to the suet feeders.
Put out a suet block or two and a feeder with some black oil sunflower seeds, and you’ll get all kinds of interesting birds to come around.
Flickers are very cool birds. I remember the first time I identified one on my own. It seemed so exotic, then you notice they’re everywhere and you just never noticed before.
That’s actually one of the coolest things about birding IMO. I grew up around all these birds, and it’s like they never existed until I started looking for them. I know they must have been there, but what the heck was I doing for 20 years that I never noticed a frickin’ Goldfinch or Flicker?!?