The Northern Flicker is the State Bird of Alabama. The bill to create a state bird was introduced in the 1927 legislature by Representative Thomas E.
Martin, of Montgomery County. It was approved on September 6, 1927, the
same day the goldenrod became the state flower.
Since the Civil War many people have called Alabama the "Yellowhammer
State". Some stories say Alabama troops in Huntsville wore uniforms with
yellow trim, which reminded people of the Flicker bird. When the
Confederate Veterans in Alabama were organized they took pride in being referred to as the "Yellowhammers," and wore a yellowhammer feather in their caps or lapels during reunions.
Important facts about the Yellowhammer
The Common Flicker is a woodpecker. It is found throughout Alabama
and is present all year.
Names used locally: Yellowhammer, Flicker, Yellow-shafted Flicker, and Southern Flicker.
Flickers are reported to eat more ants than any other American bird.
They also eat grasshoppers, crickets, berries, nuts and seeds. They especially like the berries of poison ivy.
The Common Flicker walks on the ground more than other woodpeckers,
and has an awkward hopping movement. It is often seen feeding on lawns
and is, perhaps, the most common woodpecker of the city and suburban
The female lays 6 to 10 white colored eggs in its nest. They usually nest in
holes in dead trees or fence posts.
Sometimes Flickers will nest in a nesting box. A box for a Flicker should
have a 7 x 7 inch floor, be 16 to 18 inches deep and have a 2 1/2 inch
diameter entrance located 2 inches from the top. It should be located 6
to 20 feet above ground. The bottom should be covered with wood
chips to a depth of 2 inches. Try and build your own!
Click here for an image of the state bird that you can color.
Act 27-542, Acts of Alabama, September 6, 1927
Alabama State Symbols and Emblems, Alabama Department of Archives and History, nd.
Davis, James R. , Wildlife Section, Game and Fish Division, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, n.d.
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Updated: January 21, 2010