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Northern Flicker, Yellow-shafted (Colaptes auratus)

Northern Flicker, Yellow-shafted (Colaptes auratus)

I recently visited family in Missouri, and was able to fit in a little time outdoors. This is a Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus). I can tell that she is a female because she lacks a black mustache, a trait that is more definitive in flickers than in people. 😉

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

This American Robin (Turdus migratorius) offered me the best view I’ve had of a robin since I started birding. I had a thought while contemplating the scientific name for the robin…”bowel movement” comes to mind. Rather obvious, don’t you think? Sorry, Mr. Linnaeus – I just call ’em like I see ’em.

I don’t know if this robin is a male or female – but I’ll say “she” because she’s posing with her head turned back over her shoulder, just like a supermodel.

american robin, tweeting

She was chirping/tweeting softly, as shown above. I kept waiting for a full-throated call, but she didn’t sing. I’ve learned enough about birding to know that birdsong is a complex mode of communication amongst birds – but I haven’t learned enough to know whether she could or should belt out a song this time of year. Maybe she was doing her best pouty-lipped look for the camera.

Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon)

Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon)

This is the one and only bird that  saw in my whole five minutes at Honker Cover Waterfowl Refuge. I won’t go in to why we only had five minutes – but what a fine bird to see.

Belted Kingfisher-straight on

It looks like we have another female – I believe the rusty-colored band of feathers across her chest is a pretty good indicator. Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyron) females are usually more colorful than the males, which is the opposite of most birds I know. I guess I’ll stick with my theme of birds-as-supermodels!


White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)

This White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) was never still! I was prepared to stand at my tripod for as long as it took to get a better view – but my aunt broke out in a silent dance 50 feet away – so I hurried down the trail to meet her. Turns out she was super-excited at spotting a rare orchid growing from the forest floor. It was a very cool orchid, and I never would have known what I was looking at without her pointing it out. Ah, but the nuthatch  had moved on – and so did we.


This is probably a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius), and this is about the best picture I was able to get. I had to fiddle with exposure and brightness to coax even this much detail out of the image. I have been trying to get a good look at a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker for years – never mind a picture. Since they visit my area in the winter, I’m already on watch.

sapsucker-back view

Believe it or not, this is the sum total of birds I photographed while in Missouri. I saw a few more that I did not photograph – a Red-bellied Woodpecker comes to mind.

I know I would love to go back when I have more time to dedicate to birding. If this post leaves you wanting to see more birds from Missouri, you’re not alone!

Reminder: If you have not clicked on the “Do Something! (Good)” badge to check off  your Do-Gooding, please Do! This simple act will add a dollar to the pot for every Action you check off. This is a year-long campaign to raise funds (all from Birder’s Lounge – doesn’t cost you anything) for the two Birder’s Lounge charities. I could have just come up with a sum of money and written a couple of checks…but that would not be nearly as fun. And it would not have given other people the chance to know that their Actions count twice. Finally, doing it this way will allow me to say that whatever amount I donate will be triggered by the good deeds of others. Now THAT’s a fine thing indeed.

4 Responses to “Missouri Trip – The Birds”

  • One thing I’ve never been able to do is clearly differentiate robin genders. The males of one subspecies look like the females of another subspecies, and that rolls into a big snowball across the whole group. Nevertheless, she (he?) is stunning! Great shots.

    Your kingfisher is indeed a supermodel. She’s stunning! I love those birds. Flighty and disinterested in posing, they’re still a pleasure to see.

    I think that is a yellow-bellied sapsucker. Looks right and the location is right. I think you’re safe with that assumption. I watched six of them sharing a tree last weekend–the first time I’d ever witnessed cooperative and tolerant feeding during migration. It was marvelous!

    Even if you didn’t see a gazillion species, it certainly looks like a good trip to me.

  • […] at Birder’s Lounge features a flicker and a sapsucker, among other birds from her Missouri trip. His bill an auger is, His head, a cap and frill. He laboreth at every tree, – A worm his […]

  • Awesome shots of all the birds Amber! Exceptional detail in the Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker and American Robin (Turdis migratoris). I had to laugh at your interpretation of that scientific name 🙂 I have been trying for quite awhile to get a good shot of both the flicker and the kingfisher, they are both great fun to watch. Especially the Belted Kingfishers with their loud calls, aerial acrobatics and fishing skills.

    The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker looks as if it could be a juvenile female due to the brownish coloring, lack of red throat and small amount of red on the crown.

    Thanks for taking me along on your Missouri trip. It looks like you had a wonderful time.

  • Robins – I think the males have a black (or at least darker than their body) head, while the females are the same. That’s such a great picture.

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