Yellowhammer Woodpecker (Colaptes auratus)
Also called the Northern Flicker or Yellow-Shafted Flicker
The Yellowhammer is one of the most common woodpeckers in the US, but it holds a special place in the heart of the South. In 1927, it became the official State Bird of Alabama, often attributed to a story about a Civil War company from Huntsville that arrived at a battlefield with clean uniforms that had yellow cloth at the sleeves and coattails.
Yellowhammers are about 12 inches long, with dark barred back plumage, spotted breast, black necklace, red spot on the neck and – of course, bright yellow under the wings and tail. Unlike most woodpeckers, the Yellowhammer doesn’t typically have the strong ability to hammer into trees, so they seek hollow or softer wood and forage on the ground for insects and seeds. The Yellowhammer is even reported by some to eat more ants than any other American bird! They still nest in trees, but have become used to visiting fields and neighborhood lawns.
Though they are protected like other songbirds by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, some recent surveys have documented declines in Yellowhammer populations. This is presumed to be due to pesticides used on lawns and threatened habitats- specifically Southern forest destruction. Wild South works to protect wild places and wild things and with help from partners across the region, we conserve our Southern forests for future generations, for their inherent beauty and our native wildlife.
Mountain High Outfitters has supported Wild South’s work in Alabama, including the protection of the Bankhead and Talladega National Forests in particular. Partnerships between businesses and organizations are vital to the conservation of wildlife habitats and ecosystems across the region and we make a strong bond to inspire people to enjoy, value and protect our wild places.
Photo – 2: www.fairhopesupply.com