Grounded: A Northern Flicker

Part One

By: Jeff Rechin

I recently carved a northern flicker in a more typical woodpecker pose (right). The flicker I will be carving in this demonstration will be perched on the ground (left).

Jeff Rechin is recognized as an elite sculptor whose artistry and technique have garnered him two Best in World titles at the prestigious Ward World Championship. He wrote about carving and painting an American kestrel in the Winter and Spring 2014 issues of Wildfowl Carving Magazine.

I’ve long considered the northern flicker to be a unique and beautiful woodpecker, with colors and markings that make it easy to identify. This flicker has striking plumage, with a spotted breast and black barring on its wings and back. The white feathers on its rump are also distinctive. The flicker is a fun bird to carve (and paint). I recently carved one clutching a tree trunk, but for this project, I decided to do a simpler carving and sculpt a northern flicker in a sitting position. These birds spend a good bit of their time on the ground like this as they search for ants and other food items. I will carve this bird entirely with hand tools. I like hand tools because they make me work slower. Power tools work so fast you can take away too much wood before you know it. 

This article is from the Fall 2016 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.


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